Private Oil Firms’ Investments in Mexico Fall to Lowest Level Since 2018

Investment totaled $1.19 billion, only 37% of the total approved by the country’s hydrocarbons commission

February 01, 2023 | 07:55 PM

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Mexico City — Private oil companies with exploration and production contracts in Mexico failed to comply with the investments approved for 2022, according to the most recent data from the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) with information from the Mexican Petroleum Fund.

The private sector closed the year with an investment of $1.19 billion, only 37% of the total approved by the CNH.

Former president Enrique Peña Nieto ended the monopoly of state-owned company Petróleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex with the 2013 energy reform that opened up the oil and gas secor to private firms, with the subsequent tender of 111 onshore and offshore contracts.

Fieldwood Energy, Italy’s Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI) and British-Argentine consortium with Hokchi Energy account for 63% of total private sector investments.


Servicios Múltiples de Burgos and Petrolera Cárdenas Mora close the top five.

Since 2021, the oil industry, heavily hit by the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, began to reactivate, and the price of crude oil reached $100 per barrel.

Bloomberg Línea contacted the CNH regarding the investment shortfall, but has yet to receive a response.

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The Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies (Amexhi), which brings together 33 private companies, had previously stated that the pandemic thwarted the companies’ investment plans due to the low crude oil prices and the lack of availability of equipment, but the investment has not been reactivated and continue to decline.

ENI was one of the companies most affected in its production during 2021 and part of 2022 due to the lack of a vessel to stabilize pressure in an offshore field.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has criticized the opening of the oil sector to the private sector and the promise that “a lot” of foreign investment would come in, with only a few fields active and most have no work ongoing or investment.

“Already in legal terms they could even be cancelled. We don’t do that because they [the oil companies] would make a fuss,” López Obrador said in September 2022.

For 2023, private companies have approved investments of $2.54 billion.

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