Mexico's Obsolete Oil Nationalism

Mexico needs to modernize it's oil industry, but the insistence on keeping the state-owned oil company Pemex under government control makes it hard to attract foreign investment.

Mexico's belief in the sanctity of state control over energy has set the country's oil business back several decades. Oil output has declined by a quarter since 2004, and the country's oil reserves have fallen 41 percent over the past 13 years. The U.S. shale-oil revolution is an example of what is possible by embracing top-notch technology. But last week, when the National Action Party, or PAN, announced an energy-reform proposalmany Mexicans reacted with knee-jerk rejection. Such a response shows they don't understand what's at stake.

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