It is no surprise that the global drop in oil prices has caused the growth rate of economies around the world to slow down. Between 2014 and 2015, Mexico only grew 2.5%. The most interesting figures, however, come from a breakdown of the country’s growth rates by state. Michoacán, Tabasco, Chiapas, and Campeche, the territory’s four oil states, were the only ones that shrunk in 2015, with respective annual variations in GDP of -0.1%, -1.4%, -3.6%, and a striking -7.4%. The GDP of these states presents a strong dependence on oil revenue. This accounts for 80% of Campeche’s economy, which holds the oil and gas hub of Ciudad del Carmen, and for 55% for Tabasco’s, home of Villahermosa. These measurements leave Campeche, the worst-faring state, 16.2 percentage points behind the best-faring one, Querétaro, which grew 8.8% in 2015.
According to Clemente Ruiz Durán, a Professor from UNAM’s Faculty of Economics, this growth disparity is nothing new, although it has admittedly been exacerbated by the drop in commodity prices. The alpha of the pack in terms of growth in the current environment seems to be manufacturing. That is the one thing that Querétaro, Guanajuato, and Baja California, the states with the strongest growth rates in 2015, have in common. With respective growth rates of 8.8%, 7.1%, and 6.1%, Mexico’s oil and gas states are no match. If anything, they are breakfast. Various industries have allowed for this impressive growth. While Querétaro and Guanajuato are running on a full tank thanks to a growing automotive industry, Baja California has seen its growth rate skyrocket thanks the developing aerospace industry. The industry of the three next fastest growers, which are Tlaxcala, Nuevo León, and Quintana Roo, is also characterized by strong manufacturing.
If the country’s decade-long declining production was not a sign that the oil and gas industry needs to be revitalized, this sure is, but as many officials have said over the course of the past year, help is on its way. Attracted by the opportunities that arise from the Energy Reform, oil and gas companies are marching down from the North of the continent and rowing over from the other side of the Atlantic to invest in Mexico’s under-developed hydrocarbon industry. The new and improved oil and gas industry will for the most part have a strong interface with local economies, and hopefully in a few decades, life will be pumped back into Mexico’s oil and gas states.