Robert's Feed
May 12, 2010

Mexico eyes up to 10 new nuclear plants by 2028

LA JOLLA, California (Reuters) – Mexico may build up to 10 new nuclear power stations by 2028 under one scenario being evaluated by the state electricity monopoly, the company said in a presentation on Wednesday.

Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission, or CFE, currently has four scenarios for new power generation capacity from 2019- 28 that range from a heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants to meet growing demand to a low-carbon scenario that calls for big investments in nuclear and wind power, said Eugenio Laris, who is in charge of investment projects at the company.

May 11, 2010

Pemex exec kidnapping rattles Mexico oil industry

MEXICO CITY, May 11 (Reuters) – Driving home along rough, poorly lit roads to the southern Mexican city of Villahermosa, an oil executive and his driver stopped at a roadside eatery for dinner when they were cornered by armed men.

The gunmen seized Nestor Martinez, who manages a production unit for energy monopoly Pemex in the oil-rich state of Tabasco, and sent his driver on to deliver the news he had been kidnapped, industry sources say.

Martinez was released a few days after his abduction last month but a spate of kidnappings of Pemex executives has shaken the oil industry in a country where drug cartels and organized crime gangs are increasingly spooking foreign investors.

"Everyone has heard about it but there has been no official statement. It’s really frightening," said a Pemex employee in Villahermosa, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with reporters.

A Pemex spokesman declined to comment on the case, and the industry sources could not confirm local media reports that a large ransom was paid to free Martinez, also president of the national petroleum engineers’ association.

Mexico is in the grip of a brutal drugs war that has killed some 23,000 people, mainly traffickers and police, since President Felipe Calderon took power in late 2006. The army crackdown launched by Calderon has fanned turf wars between rival gangs and battles against security forces.

Extortion of businesses and kidnapping is rife, although many abductions are not reported because of a widespread mistrust of Mexico’s police, so numbers are hard to pin down.

Businesses often deal with private security experts rather than the police when executives are abducted and they usually try to keep cases quiet for fear of attracting more criminal attention.

Calderon’s government has appealed to the public to report more crimes, and around 100 kidnappings a month were reported to authorities last year, a more than 80 percent jump on 2008, according to Mexican consultancy RRS y Asociados.

PEMEX A TARGET

Organized crime in Mexico is dominated by powerful drug gangs that hold sway in different areas, running everything from cocaine-smuggling routes to car thefts.

A majority of firms surveyed by the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico said earlier this year they felt less safe than before. More than a quarter said they were reconsidering their investment plans in Mexico due to security concerns.

"We have clients that in the past year have spent a lot of money on physical security and many are now restricting the travel of their executives," said Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at U.S. security consultancy Stratfor.

Burton estimates official Mexican statistics may only account for a third of all abductions. "It’s not uncommon for a senior executive to fly into the country and leave the same day rather than take the risk of staying overnight."

Martinez is the fourth Pemex employee to be abducted from his production unit since March, according to a Tabasco newspaper. A fifth Pemex employee, who works in petrochemicals, was also abducted recently, the paper reported.

"This is not a good development for the oil industry and shows security is a growing concern," said a U.S. consultant who works with Pemex, asking not to be quoted by name.

Security concerns are unlikely to lead to an exodus of oil services companies from Mexico due to the lucrative work doled out by Pemex as it struggles to halt declining oil production.

But the abductions are one more headache for Pemex which already struggles with criminal gangs and corrupt employees pilfering some $750 million of fuel and oil from its pipelines each year and stealing valuable spare parts and equipment.

Calls have intensified to move Mexico’s annual petroleum conference in June from the Gulf coastal city of Tampico in the drug-gang infested state of Tamaulipas to a safer location.

"Nobody wanted to go to Tampico before but now there is a lot pressure to change the location. Who wants to send their executives there?" said a person at a Pemex contractor. (Editing by Catherine Bremer and Kieran Murray)




May 3, 2010

Mexico to award first oil deals by year-end

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Foreign energy companies could be at work in Mexico’s oil sector for the first time in more than seven decades as soon as the end of 2010, a senior executive of Mexico’s state oil monopoly Pemex said on Monday.

Pemex intends to award up to 14 contracts to private companies to boost production at marginal onshore oil fields along the Gulf Coast and at its Chicontepec project, Pemex’s exploration and production chief Carlos Morales said at the Reuters Latin American Investment Summit in Mexico City.

Apr 28, 2010

Mexico oil decline to resume, target looks shaky

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican crude oil output, which has been stable since September, will soon resume its fall and the medium-term outlook is increasingly cloudy due to doubts surrounding two major projects.

State oil monopoly Pemex has kept production around 2.6 million barrels per day for six of the last seven months, prompting officials to forecast Mexico has overcome the worst of its five-year slide in oil output.

Apr 12, 2010

Mexico regulator slams Pemex Chicontepec plans

MEXICO CITY, April 9 (Reuters) – Mexico’s newly-created oil
and gas regulator issued a report that was highly critical of
the country’s flagship oil project on Friday, calling the
Chicontepec development rushed and decades away from
profitability.

State oil monopoly Pemex [PEMX.UL] has poured more than
$4.5 billion into Chicontepec in a bid to make the
unconventional field a major oil producer. It also aims to
offset the decline of Mexico’s main oil fields in the shallow
waters of the Gulf of Mexico that threatens to turn the country
from one of the United States’ main crude suppliers into a net
oil importer before 2020.

Mar 31, 2010

OPEC undecided on action if oil breaks from $70-80

CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) – OPEC officials on Tuesday appeared undecided on how to respond if oil prices rose definitively above the $70-80 a barrel range they have praised this month, highlighting a looming challenge for the cartel.

Although prices have held calmly within this band for much of 2010, U.S. crude, currently around $82 a barrel, is near the top of its recent range, and some analysts said it could push even higher as demand from the United States and other industrialized nations rebounds as their economies recover.

Mar 26, 2010

Preview: Oil price puts users, producers in fragile detente

MEXICO CITY/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Energy producers and consumers are experiencing a rare moment of harmony now that oil prices have stabilized near $80 a barrel, but deep conflict over how to keep markets stable lurks below the surface.

Oil consumers demand more access to reserves, while sellers fear that financial speculators, climate regulation and a move away from oil to alternatives could threaten their main source of revenue.

Mar 25, 2010

Mexico oil output slips in Feb, still above target

MEXICO CITY, March 25 (Reuters) – Mexican oil production
fell in February but at a far slower rate than in early 2009,
suggesting state oil monopoly Pemex is successfully controlling
the decline. Crude output was 5,000 barrels per day lower than in January at 2.61 million bpd and 2 percent below the year-ago level in February, Pemex [PEMX.UL] reported on Thursday. Production slumped 9 percent in February 2009. Sliding oil production has put pressure on Mexico's public finances, which depend heavily on export revenues to fund its federal budget. Pemex has struggled since 2004 to contain the rate of decline at its giant Cantarell field, which once pumped nearly two-thirds of Mexican oil output. Declining oil output was one of the main factors behind the decision of two bond rating agencies to downgrade Mexico's sovereign debt last year. <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> For a graphic on Mexican oil output click on: link.reuters.com/paq35j <^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^> Mexican officials said late last year Pemex had stabilized its output problems at Cantarell. While analysts are skeptical Pemex has solved the problem, the company is producing more oil than its 2010 operating plan assumes. The plan called for output of 2.54 million bpd in February and an average of just over 2.5 million bpd for the year. Mexico is among the top four exporters of crude oil to the United States. The slump in output, along with a growing reliance on imported gasoline and other refined products, threatens to turn the country into a net oil importer. Mexican crude exports averaged 1.198 million bpd in February compared with 1.238 million bpd in January and 1.257 million bpd in February 2009. Gasoline imports, historically volatile, rose to 329,200 bpd from 258,000 bpd a month earlier. Pemex is unlikely to quickly raise oil production and cut gasoline imports due to a legacy of underinvestment. The country is building a new oil refinery but it is unlikely to begin operations until at least 2015 and Pemex has yet to turn up any major discoveries in its offshore oil exploration campaign that would allow it to offset all of the anticipated declines at Cantarell and other fields. Total liquids production, which includes crude oil as well as condensates and natural gas liquids, was 2.988 million bpd in February, down 5,000 bpd from January, Pemex said. (Reporting by Robert Campbell; Editing by David Gregorio)

Mar 19, 2010

Televisa, Telefonica team up on Mexico fiber bid

MEXICO CITY, March 19 (Reuters) – Mexican media group
Televisa <TLVACPO.MX>, Spain’s Telefonica <TEF.MC> and Mexican
cable television company Megacable <MEGACPO.MX> plan to jointly
bid for fiber optic cable capacity to be auctioned off by
Mexico’s government.

Televisa said on Friday the three companies would hold
equal stakes in the joint venture bidding for two fiber optic
strands being tendered by Mexico’s state power monopoly.

Mar 18, 2010

Mexico posts modest rise in oil replacement rate

TULA, Mexico, March 18 (Reuters) – Mexico added slightly
more crude oil and natural gas to its proven reserves last year
than in 2008 and posted a higher production replacement rate as
output declined, according to data released on Thursday.

President Felipe Calderon said state oil monopoly Pemex
[PEMX.UL] replaced 77 percent of the oil and gas it extracted
last year with proven new discoveries, up from a 71.8
replacement rate for 2008.