The last quarter of the year seems to evidence the exhaustion of a PEMEX model that no longer holds itself, no matter which angle it is looked at. The fact that the price of Mexican crude oil has dropped below the barrier of US$50 per barrel is just another factor of concern for the productive enterprise of state, but by no means the most worrisome one.
The 4.6% fall in exportations and the rise in imports of both gas and gasoline add to the poor oil production in October, the lowest since the same month in 1995, has resulted in the reduction of the trade surplus recorded in September by 50%. Revenues have also experienced a decline of 1.8% in the first three quarters of the year when compared to 2013 numbers.
While company sources indicate that the state-owned enterprise’s production objectives have not been compromised because the annual production mean still surpasses 2.4 million barrels per day, these figures show that it is increasingly difficult to hear good news about the NOC. Aside from importations, the only thing to increase in PEMEX has been its debt, which grew almost 20% during the first nine months of the year.
The productivity per worker, or rather the lack thereof, is another aspect that puts PEMEX in a disadvantageous position amongst the international oil companies with the largest oil reserves. PEMEX’s oil reserves (12,448 MMBOE), as well as its revenues, position the company in fifth place behind Exxon Mobil (25.216 MBPC), PetroChina (22,374 MBPC), Royal Dutch Shell (13.944 MBPC), and Petrobras (13,123 MBPC). However, if we look at the number of employees in these IOCs, the Mexican company moves to second place only behind the Asian state company. This fact casts a bleak statistic: every employee of PEMEX generates benefits to the company of only US$814,000 per year, compared to US$5.2 million from Exxon Mobil’s workers, US$4.9 million from Shell’s workers, or US$1.6 million from Petrobras’ workers, according to data Bloomberg released as 2013 closes.
These figures are the result of dividing the annual revenues by the number of workers, which in the case of PEMEX would be US$126 billion divided by the 154,774 workers the NOC had at the time. US based Exxon Mobil leads the ranking of efficiency after generating US$390.2 billion in revenues with 75,000 employees. Dutch company Shell follows the list, as its 92,000 employees generated US$451.2 billion.
However, producing a barrel of oil costs PEMEX less than it does to its international counterparts, according to a report from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the US. This means that while the costs of production for a single barrel amount to US$17.22 for Petrobras, US$ 17.10 for Chevron, US$ 14.35 for Shell, and US$ 13.16 for BP, PEMEX only invests US$7.91 in producing a barrel. This is crucial considering the current state of oil international prices.
Regardless, PEMEX needs to conduct a serious analysis of the skills and qualities of its staff in order to relocate the workers that do not create value in their positions. Bureaucratic areas have broadened its workforce above the average when compared to more productive oil companies. While BP and Shell are immersed in the process of downsizing, PEMEX has already presented its strategy to change its management and to be more efficient by eliminating unnecessary duplications. Hopefully, these measurements are sufficient enough for PEMEX to compete with international companies that will soon become rivals on its own territory.