George Baker, Ph.D., Contributing Expert and Scholar, Mexico Center
Issue Brief 03.17.14 — Reprinted: RICE UNIVERSITY’S BAKER INSTITUTE
Mexico’s 2013–2014 energy reform promises to bring the country’s economic drivers and regulatory institutions in line with the global practices of free market democracies. If successful, this development would be a 180-degree turn. The accomplishment of such realignment is hardly assured, however, because of endogenous political, institutional, and legal constraints that could openly defeat the aims of energy reform or quietly subvert them, even under the guise of success. Energy reform must be coherent with the global oil industry; its success must be measured by the amount and composition of investors who believe in Mexico’s resources, public oversight institutions, and rule of law. Success will also be measured by how far energy reform goes in transforming Mexico’s national oil company (NOC) into an enterprise that is competitive outside of Mexico. If energy reform leaves a stay-at-home NOC, it will not have been worth the effort.