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Mexico's Lopez Obrador says he would ask Pena Nieto to halt new oil rounds contracts

istock

Reiterates promise to review older private oil contracts. Would also halt the privatization of the electricity sector

By Justin Villamil

MEXICO CITY
Petroleumworld 03 19
2018

Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said if he wins the election in July, he will ask President Enrique Pena Nieto to stop awarding all new private oil contracts.

The candidate said he would ask Pena Nieto to stop auctions of new oil blocks and reiterated his promise to review contracts made under the Pena Nieto administration to ensure they complied with the law, according to audio of an event Sunday in Mexico City posted to his website.

“Particularly, I'm going to tell them to stop with the sale of the Yucatan and Quintana Roo coasts that should not be used for petroleum extraction because it involves one of the most important tourist regions in our country,” Lopez Obrador said. “We will intervene immediately.”

Lopez Obrador also said he would stop the privatization of the electricity sector, as well as work to end crude oil exports by building two new refineries. He promised that Mexico would no longer import foreign fuel by three years into his term to promote energy independence and reduce costs to consumers.

While the acting leader of Mexico Oil Company Association has recommended annual crude auctions, this is the clearest indication yet that new contracts could be halted if Lopez Obrador prevails.

The candidate has sent mixed signals in the past. On Feb. 15, Alfonso Romo, his top business adviser, told Bloomberg that Lopez Obrador's team had found most of the past contracts to be transparent. Later that month, Rocio Nahle, his top energy adviser, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying she'd halt new auctions until positive results were seen from the first tenders. The candidate himself did not clarify his position until now.

Lopez Obrador told reporters in his comments Sunday it is important to review old deals for signs of corruption, raising the specter of previous contracts with disgraced Brazilian construction company Odebrecht SA .

“We don't want contracts like those of Odebrecht,” Lopez Obrador said. “We don't want these surprises that have resulted in a corruption scandal on a global scale.”

 


Story by Justin Villamil from Bloomberg .

Bloomberg.com /
03 18 2018

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