Pemex pushes private sector partnerships, rules out privatisation

07 December 2012 19:35  [Source: ICIS news]

MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) said on Friday that it must strengthen its resources through partnerships with the private sector, but the state-run oil company ruled out the possibility of privatisation.

“Public resources are no longer sufficient to develop the various entities of the state,” Pemex general director Emilio Lozoya Austin said. “We need more direct investment in cost-effective activities that generate greater added value.”

He said the need for investment and modernisation does not signify privatisation.

Mexico will remain the owner of the nation’s hydrocarbons,” he said. “Pemex will always remain a public entity.”

Austin's statement came after Mexico’s new president, Enrique Pena Nieto, signed a deal with the country’s two main opposition parties committing them to various economic reforms. Pena Nieto took office on Sunday.

The "Pact for Mexico" included the promise of more competition in refining, petrochemicals and energy transportation.

However, the three-party deal precludes privatisation of Pemex installations.

Austin, named as Pemex’s new director general on Wednesday, said he stressed the need for company transparency and the formation of a more effective system of accountability.

Pemex has been dogged in recent years by accusations of corruption and inefficiency.

In May this year, Mexican opposition legislators accused Pemex of hiding $30bn (€23bn) of losses. Mexico’s accounting regulator subsequently cleared the company of all charges.

“My administration will have zero tolerance for behaviour that falls short of the legal framework,” Austin said.

He also called for a more positive relationship with the company’s trade-union members.

Local media reported last week that Mexico’s oil workers' union had been stalling approval of a vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) joint venture with Mexichem.

“We will address their concerns in an orderly and efficient manner,” Austin said.

Austin succeeds Juan Jose Suarez Coppel.

The Mexican president also appointed Pedro Joaquin Coldwell as the country's new energy secretary.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Simon West

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