AMLO sends an initiative to increase Pemex’s power and deal a ‘mortal blow’ on former president Peña Nieto’s energy reforms.

MEXICO CITY (El Financiero) – Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent a bill to Congress on Friday that seeks to give Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) greater control over fuel prices, distribution, imports and commercialization.

The proposal would modify the country’s hydrocarbons law to allow the Energy Secretariat to suspend permits “to guarantee the nation’s interests,” according to a draft seen by Bloomberg News.

It would also allow the state oil company to take control of facilities whose permits had been suspended.

The bill was sent to the lower house leadership Friday and will be discussed in the chamber next week, the president’s spokesman, Jesus Ramirez, said in a telephone interview.

If approved, the measure would be the biggest reversal so far of the hydrocarbons reforms that ended the state’s oil monopoly in 2013 and 2014. Since taking office in 2018, the president has been trying to roll back the opening of Mexico’s energy industry to the private sector. He wants PEMEX a monopoly once again.

The courts have thwarted Lopez Obrador’s previous attempts to restore state dominance in the energy market. Earlier this month, a judge indefinitely suspended a law that would give state-owned companies priority over private companies in the electricity market.

The president said earlier this month that he would seek to push for constitutional reform if his efforts were blocked.

The arrival of competition has seen Pemex lose significant market share, with foreign companies importing more diesel than the state-owned giant for the first time in June last year. Pemex has also struggled with its debt burden and long-term production declines.

Spokesmen for the Energy Ministry and Pemex did not respond to requests for comment. Senate leader Ricardo Monreal’s office said they had not seen the bill yet.

The Chamber of Deputies received Friday President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s initiative with a draft decree, by which various provisions of the Hydrocarbons Law are reformed and added.

The document, published in the Parliamentary Gazette, was referred to the Energy Commission for its opinion and to the Budget and Public Account Commission for its opinion.

The initiative reforms articles 51; 53, second paragraph; 56, section XI, and 57, and adds a section XII, changing the current section XII to become section XIII, to article 56; article 59 Bis, and a second paragraph to section II of article 86, of the Hydrocarbons Law.

The Yucatan Times
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