Mexico's Pemex in talks with oil workers over pension reform -CEO Lozoya

MEXICO CITY, April 16 Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:11pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY, April 16 (Reuters) - Oil worker pensions are a major burden for Mexico's state oil company Pemex and must be reined in, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.

Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya said the company was in negotiations with the country's powerful oil workers' union to overhaul the generous pension scheme. Such reform is likely to serve as part of a wider overhaul of the state oil monopoly due this year.

"We have one of the most archaic pension systems in the world," Lozoya said at an energy conference in Mexico City, noting that Pemex employees can retire at age 55 with a pension worth their full salary.

Lozoya did not give details on how pensions could be restructured, but a senior lawmaker in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) told Reuters there would likely be an effort to raise the retirement age at Pemex to as much as 65.

Pemex employs about 150,000 workers and funds the retirement of 70,000 former employees.

The Pemex workforce includes roughly 120,000 who are members of Mexico's oil workers union, headed by Sen. Carlos Romero Deschamps, an influential PRI powerbroker. The union also has five representatives on Pemex's board of directors.

Separately, Lozoya said Pemex expects to finish the year with a slight uptick in oil production at 2.6 million barrels per day (bpd) compared with 2.55 million bpd last year. By 2018, Pemex expects to ramp up production to 3 million bpd, he said.

Mexico, the world's No. 7 oil producer, hit peak production in 2004 with 3.4 million bpd.

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