- Posted December 13, 2013 by
Mexico ends Oil Monopoly
Mexico’s Congress has approved a bill to end a 75-year state oil monopoly by allowing foreign and domestic investors to enter the market.
The vote was passed 353-134, allowing private companies to explore and drill for oil and gas, which was not previously permitted. The bill still needs to be approved by 17 of Mexico’s 31 states, which is believed to be highly probable.
State-run oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, gained ownership of all natural resources when Mexico’s government took over operations from foreign oil companies in 1938. At the time, the move was viewed by many as a symbol of nationalism.
The bill carries key importance for the US, as Mexico is in the top five exporters of crude oil to America.
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party and the conservative National Action Party were behind the proposal.
Many fiercely opposed the bill, with some leftist members of Congress trying to stop negotiations by blocking access to the chamber of the House of Deputies with chairs and tables, AP reported. A member of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, Antonio Garcia Conejo, undressed during his speech to emphasize that the bill is a “plunder of the nation.”
“We must defend our oil,” Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, a three-time presidential candidate and son of the president who nationalized the oil industry, said in a television advertisement. The state oil company, he added, belongs “to all Mexicans, and we must not allow it to go private.”