Mexican ruling party senator proposes bolstering Pemex's role in energy

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A top Mexican ruling party senator has proposed a bill aimed at “reinforcing” the constitutional role of state-oil firm Pemex, as debate heats up about unwinding recent reforms that promoted the private sector’s involvement in the energy sector.

FILE PHOTO: The Pemex logo is seen at its headquarters in Mexico City, Mexico April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

While the bill proposed this week by Armando Guadiana, president of the Senate Energy Commission, does not yet have the backing of his party and may not be taken up, it reflects well-known thinking among some of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s allies.

Lopez Obrador, a leftist nationalist leader, has placed emphasis on turning around the fortunes of loss-making state oil giant Pemex, and ensuring the state plays a lead role in Mexico’s once jealously-guarded energy sector.

Guadiana’s proposed bill, underpinning Pemex’s central position in the sector, was one of 453 proposals put forward by senators of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party for its legislative agenda between September and January.

Guadiana wants to make changes to the Mexican Constitution and the laws supporting historic energy reforms approved by the previous government in 2013.

His proposals, laid out in a draft of Morena’s legislative agenda seen by Reuters, include amending the country’s Hydrocarbons Revenue Law “to alleviate Pemex’s fiscal situation and ... improve its financial position.”

Morena’s 60-page document mentions two additional reforms for Pemex, including changes so management is “focused on economic growth and oil bonanzas” and a “comprehensive reform in energy matters”, without giving further details.

Ricardo Monreal, Morena’s coordinator in the upper house, said it was still too early to know which of the 453 proposals will have the support of the party or if they will be presented for debate.

“It would be impossible for all 453 issues to be approved,” he told Reuters on Friday.

Lopez Obrador has given officials until late September to craft a plan to reassert state control over the energy industry as an alternative to constitutional change to achieve the same goals, according to Reuters sources.

Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Tom Brown