(Adds comment from ExxonMobil spokesman, Credit Suisse report,
MEXICO CITY Aug 11 Mexican President Enrique
Pena Nieto on Monday signed a package of laws that will serve as
a rule book for comprehensive energy reform designed to lure
billions of dollars in investment to the country's ailing oil,
gas and electricity sectors.
Pena Nieto has made the energy overhaul the top economic
priority of his administration, which aims to boost slumping
growth in the world's 15th biggest economy.
He said at a ceremony at the national palace that the energy
ministry will announce two next steps in the reform later this
week. A so-called Round Zero allocation of oil and gas fields
that Pemex will keep is to be unveiled on Wednesday.
The energy ministry will also announce which fields will be
put up for grabs for foreign and private oil companies in the
first round of public tenders, expected to take place next year.
The reform ends the decades-long monopoly enjoyed by
Mexico's two state-owned energy behemoths, national oil company
Pemex and electricity utility CFE. It
opens up new opportunities for investment across the industry.
International oil majors like Royal Dutch Shell and
ExxonMobil have been monitoring the legislative process
and are widely expected to compete for newly established
development contracts and licenses as early as next year.
"Mexico has created a solid framework to make the energy
sector more competitive and attractive to private investment,"
said Shell Mexico President Alberto De La Fuente in an emailed
response to questions.
"We will review strategic opportunities in Mexico that could
generate value for both our company and the country," he added.
Patrick McGinn, a spokesman for ExxonMobil's upstream
division, said the company welcomes the reform but emphasized
that future projects in Mexico will have to compete.
"We will pursue potential investment opportunities in Mexico
that are competitive with other opportunities around the world,"
Credit Suisse said in a report issued Monday that the
accelerated timeline announced by Pena Nieto "should bring more
(investment) interest" to the sector.
The bank's research unit added that oil companies will "be
able to choose from a wide array of options and analyze them
with enough lead time, increasing the likelihood that the formal
biddings are carried out in a timely manner."
(Reporting by Noe Torres, David Alire Garcia and Adriana
Barrera; Editing by Simon Gardner and David Gregorio)