Mexico is on the brink of a quiet energy revolution. President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ambitious reform proposal, , would enable foreign oil companies to help tap Latin America’s third-largest reserves, improve Mexico’s economic growth and move North America further on the road to self-sufficiency.
Pena Nieto and his Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, want to let foreign companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Repsol SA sign production-sharing contracts for oil exploration and output. (The companies would still be prohibited from operating their own fields.) Thus would Mexico return to the situation that prevailed from 1938, when the country expropriated oilfields from U.S. and British companies but allowed them to operate them, to 1958, when Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company also known as Pemex, gained exclusive control of all phases of the petroleum industry.