Mexico's Pemex says new procurement rules aimed at combating graft

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s state oil company Pemex [PEMX.UL] said on Wednesday that updated procurement policies, such as renegotiating service contracts and fewer no-bid purchases, have led to more than 24 billion pesos ($1.10 billion) in savings for the cash-strapped firm.

Miguel Angel Servin, the company’s top procurement executive, said in a phone interview that beyond the savings, which occurred over the past year, the bigger goal is to minimize acts of corruption in its purchases.

“All of the actions that we’re taking revolve around more transparency, (contractor) certainty and more competition, and this is how we can minimize possible acts of corruption,” he said.

“We have to regain confidence. For me, that’s what’s behind all of it.”

Servin was tapped to lead Pemex procurement in March, part of the team assembled by new Chief Executive Officer Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, who was appointed to lead the company a month earlier.

Last year around 30 percent of all goods and service bought by Pemex were under no-bid contracts, down from more than 80 percent in 2015.

The value of its no-bid contracts was 62 billion pesos last year, a drop of more than 70 percent from a year earlier, said Servin.

No-bid contracts are only permitted where the company can prove there is just one possible supplier for a given good or service, or if there is an emergency.

Servin said the company aims to reduce the use of such contracts further in 2017, though he did not provide a specific target.

Over the past year, he added, the company has moved away from in-person or paper-based procurement for myriad goods and services toward an electronic platform.

The new platform was launched in November and is now used for all of the company’s purchases, including for its exploration and production arm as well as its so-called midstream and downstream Industrial Transformation unit.

($1 = 21.8530 Mexican pesos)

Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Tom Brown