MEXICO CITY/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mexico has nearly finished reworking the formula it uses to hedge its oil production, a finance ministry official said on Friday, including changes to how it factors fuel oil prices into its export mix.
“We have the formula, and we’ll be making it official soon,” said Gabriel Yorio, a senior finance ministry official. “We have it practically ready.”
Mexico buys about $1 billion worth of financial positions to protect its oil sales revenues for the coming year against price volatility.
The formula is one of the last pieces Mexico needs to approach banks to solicit quotes for the crude oil options it typically buys to protect against a drop in oil prices, sources familiar with the deal said this week.
The series of transactions are the most widely anticipated in oil markets, and can make or break an investment bank’s dealbook.
Mexico has faced challenges in executing the hedge this year as oil prices have been volatile and new International Maritime Organization standards set to come into effect in 2020 have roiled fuel oil markets.
High-sulfur fuel oil has generally been a component of Mexico’s export mix, but brokers and traders have asked the country to replace the type of heavy fuel oil it has been using for calculating the formula for the hedge, sources have told Reuters.
“There are rule changes in the maritime regulation, which imply a new composition of fuels,” Yorio said in an interview.
Mexico is the fourth-biggest producer of petroleum and other oils in the Americas, after the United States, Canada, and Brazil, and has been a key source of heavy, sour crude to the United States. The value of U.S. crude imports from Mexico totaled $10 billion in 2017 and $14 billion in 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Department.
But production at state oil company Pemex has largely been in decline for about 14 years since hitting a peak of 3.4 million bpd in 2004, as Mexico’s most prolific fields have dried up and new ones to replace them have not been discovered.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that production at Pemex has stabilized, despite a report showing that output fell in May from April.
Reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City and Devika Krishna Kumar in New York; Additional reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Tom Brown and Lisa Shumaker