Mexico's President Courts Big Oil With End to State Monopoly

Peña Nieto’s plan to open up to foreigners faces domestic hurdles
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto Photograph by Raul ArboledaA/AFP/Getty Images

Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex as it’s known, is a laggard among state oil companies. Production from the huge offshore Cantarell field has been declining steadily. The Mexicans know there is plenty more gas and oil to be had, but Pemex lacks the in-house expertise and capital to drill in deep Gulf of Mexico waters or extract oil through hydraulic fracturing on land. The oil majors have little incentive to help, since they were kicked out 75 years ago.

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