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There is good news and bad news coming out of Mexico’s oil sector: The good news is that the government and the sharply divided Congress have been able to agree, finally, on an oil reform package. The package makes progress on three fronts: First, it seeks to dramatically upgrade public oversight of the famously independent national oil company, Pemex. Second, it seeks to strengthen corporate governance in Pemex by restructuring and expanding the corporate board of directors and by increasing the authority and responsibility of the presidential appointee who is the chief executive. Third, it seeks to give Pemex greater flexibility in the design of contractual models for goods and services, including incentive (or performance) bonuses. The bad news is about what was omitted from the reform package: specific measures to improve exploration, explicit measures to involve the expertise of oil companies in deepwater E&P, and making the tenure of the corporate director general at the pleasure of the Pemex board.
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