Mexican legislators are on a mission to do all that is in their power to turn around lagging production and stimulate the country’s economy by opening its oil and gas sector, among others, to private investors. About eight months after they agreed to break the monopoly that state-owned Pemex has held since 1938, legislators have accomplished a feat in passing energy laws. Another milestone was reached this week when Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has pushed the reform as part of a sweeping overhaul of key segments of the government, enacted the legislation. The country should be applauded for not only its initiatives, but its swiftness. The pace at which legislators and other officials involved in the process have worked has been quick, even despite the presence of disagreement on certain issues. Their counterparts across the border in the U.S., to the northeast in the nation’s capital, could learn a few lessons. The Mexican government is pushing forward, and it is moving ahead of schedule. Bloomberg reported that the government plans to announce which fields Pemex will keep for production as part of round zero. Instead of announcing the fields on Sept. 17, the news is scheduled to be announced Aug. 13, according to Pena Nieto. “The energy reform opens a great opportunity for Mexico, and we need to seize it with complete and fast implementation,” Pena Nieto said. “I’ve told different areas of the government to accelerate all of the measures necessary to put this reform into action for the good of Mexico.” The energy ministry will decide which fields Pemex gets to keep. The company has shallow-water E&P capabilities but lacks the technical know-how to tap deepwater and unconventional resources. Pemex has requested 31% of the country’s prospective resources, which accounts for 34.5 Bbbl. During a March 28 conference call about round zero, Gustavo Hernández, who was acting E&P director for Pemex at the time, said, “There are still lots of opportunities for other players to come to explore and to convert these prospective resources—both conventional and unconventional—accounting for 78 billion barrels to be discovered.” Mexico is believed to have 156.6 Bboe of hydrocarbon resources, of which 112.8 Bboe are considered prospective resources. The energy ministry will decide, with technical input from the National Hydrocarbon Commission, which fields Pemex gets to keep. In order to get what it requested, “Pemex has to demonstrate that it has the technical, financial and operational capacities needed to explore and produce hydrocarbons in a sufficient and competitive manner,” Maria de Lourdes Melgar, undersecretary of hydrocarbons for the Ministry of Energy, said during the same call. “It’s like a coin which has two sides,” Melgar added. “On one hand, we need to strengthen Pemex, providing the necessary resources to ensure current levels of production in an efficient manner, and that includes reserves. This is the first step toward converting Pemex into a productive state enterprise. On the other hand, from the prospective of the state, we need to multiply investments in E&P, increasing the number of players and creating a new oil industry, which will allow us to increase production and reserves.” Mexico has shown that it is willing and ready to do business. Now, it is up to private investors to join in the action. Some companies already are getting involved. Pemex recently awarded unrelated contracts to CGG and GE Oil & Gas. CGG won a $200 million contract for ocean-bottom cable (OBC) 3-D/4C seismic work, while GE Oil & Gas was awarded a contract to provide vital surface equipment to Pemex for use at its offshore project in the Ayatsil heavy oil field in the Campeche Sound in the Gulf of Mexico. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at vaddison@hartenergy.com.