Leftist AMLO says he would try to halt energy auctions if president-elect

“I’m committed to stop having foreign fuels bought by midway through the next six-year term because we’re going to rehabilitate the six existing refineries and we will build two big refineries”
Mexico leftist says he would try to halt energy auctions if president-elect
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, presidential candidate of the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), offers a floral tribute for 80th anniversary of the expropriation of Mexico's oil industry at Lázaro Cardenas - Photo: Ginnette Riquelme/REUTERS
19/03/2018
12:43
Reuters
Mexico City
-A +A

Leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is a long-time skeptic of Peña Nieto’s Energy Reform, enshrined in 2014, and he and his team have delivered fluctuating messages on what they would do if they win. Foreign investors and energy companies are paying close attention to what might happen in one of the most important, and recently opened, energy markets in the Americas.

There are two official authorized oil auctions - in July and September - that could be threatened by López Obrador’s comments, and the energy ministry wants to squeeze in another before Pena Nieto leaves office, although it has yet to be given the green light.
 

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Speaking in Mexico City on the 80th anniversary of the Nationalization of Mexico's Oil Industry, López Obrador also said that within three years of his possible six-year term, Mexico would stop buying foreign fuel, following extensive upgrades of the country’s refining sector.

His government would also stop selling crude abroad to focus on value-added fuel production, he added.

“I’m going to ask (Peña Nieto) that he doesn’t hand out any more oil blocks, neither onshore or shallow waters, and that he puts a stop to the privatization of oil and electricity sectors,” López Obrador said.
If López Obrador wins the July 1 vote, he would take office on Dec. 1. Since the energy reform was enacted, Mexico has conducted eight oil and gas auctions, awarding some 90 contracts covering onshore and offshore acreage.

The Energy Reform ended state oil company Pemex’s nearly 80 years of monopoly control over the sector and paved the way for the auctions, ending a long-standing constitutional prohibition on private companies operating fields on their own.

López Obrador, who enjoys a double-digit poll lead over his rivals, also gave a clear indication of what his government’s larger energy policies would be. “I’m committed to stop having foreign fuels bought by midway through the next six-year term because we’re going to rehabilitate the six existing refineries and we will build two big refineries,” he said.  “We’re not going to sell crude oil abroad. We’re going to process all the raw material in our country to lower the price of fuel.”

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