To commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Mexican oil expropriation, President Enrique Peña Nieto gathered government and PEMEX dignitaries to celebrate in Dos Bocas, Tabasco. He was accompanied by PEMEX CEO, Emilio Lozoya Austin, and the Minister of Energy, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, along with the Ministers of National Defense, Education, and Environment and Natural Resources, in a ceremony which also marked the beginning of operations of the Yunuén platform.
During his speech, President Peña Nieto deemed the Energy Reform to be the most relevant economic change Mexico had seen in the last 50 years. He said that PEMEX would continue to belong to all Mexicans and was “a source of national pride that is renewed and strengthened as it turns into the most competitive company of the global oil industry.”
The circumstances the oil industry and the Mexican economy face today are very different from those President Lázaro Cárdenas confronted back in 1938 when he declared oil reserves belonged to the state, but they are no less trying, stated the President. To respond to the challenge of consolidating PEMEX, he summoned all the levels of the government to work towards that goal.
Emilio Lozoya Austin, Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, Carlos Romero Deschamps, leader of the oil and gas workers union, and Tabasco’s governor, Arturo Núñez Jiménez, also delivered speeches to an audience mostly composed of PEMEX workers.
The speakers agreed that the industry is facing a difficult scenario not exclusive to Mexico, due to the fall of oil prices and the appreciation of the dollar. However, they also concurred on the opportunities for growth opened by the much needed Energy Reform and the possibility of PEMEX becoming more modern and competitive.
In turn, Lozoya Austin stated that the Energy Reform means a radical transformation of the oil and gas industry and PEMEX, which will now be able to compete and succeed in an open market environment. “The Reform has endowed PEMEX with new corporate governance, management autonomy, as well as new schemes for supply, remuneration, and internal control that all work toward reducing the duplication of processes and streamlining decision-making,” he said.
“Today, 77 years after the official creation of PEMEX, we venture into a new stage of the company’s history under very difficult conditions,” Lozoya Austin stated. However, he claimed to be convinced that the daily labor of PEMEX collaborators and the commitment shown by its union will help the company move forward once again.
Lozoya Austin said the new legal regime defined by the Energy Reform has allowed PEMEX to respond in a quicker and more efficient way to the drop of oil prices in the international market. The legal framework “opens the doors to compensating the readjustment done to the budget, by means of associations and alliances that will alleviate the impact of the cuts over PEMEX’s investment projects.”
During his speech, Peña Nieto also stressed the unparalleled sense of national identity that PEMEX provides to Mexicans. The 150,000 people that work at PEMEX were acknowledged, considered as a source of national pride, and invited to keep up the efforts in order to consolidate the historical change the Energy Reform represents.
Towards the end of his speech, Peña Nieto assured the government is working to protect PEMEX against organized crime, which is why the president is pushing a discussion in Congress to pass a law that strictly punishes fuel theft. Along this line, he recognized the army’s efforts to protect the infrastructure and the lives working for the success of the Mexican oil and gas industry.