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Abstract

Of all the countries in the world considered to be oil rich, Mexico is the only one that consistently has been losing production and reserves in the last ten years. Even though Mexico has five major producing provinces: two for oil (the Southeast and the Tampico–Misantla basins) and three for gas (the Sabinas, Burgos and Veracruz basins), and has seven more with potential, (California, Gulf of Cortès, Chihuahua, Sierra Madre Oriental, Sierra de Chiapas, Progreso shelf, and the deep Gulf of Mèxico), its output and reserves have declined consistently.

Many reasons can be attributed for these results, and as this note proves, least of them is the country’s endowment of oil and gas resources. The problem is that Mexico, since 1938, has had only one oil company responsible for all of its upstream activities and even though Pemex’s performance is comparable with that of most of the majors’ (it is world’s third largest in terms of production), it is impossible that all the remaining potential of the entire country can be found and produced with only one company, no matter how large, wealthy, efficient, technologically advanced, and successful it can be.

The good news is that once the country opens up for third-party participation in exploration, which will eventually take place, results are going to be spectacular. So far there has only been a timid opening for development and exploitation opportunities.

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