HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A report on Mexico’s profile at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) has been published by Mexico Energy Intelligence® (MEI), a Houston-based digital publication dedicated to regulatory, commercial and institutional developments in the Gulf of Mexico.
OTC is the premier global conference for the oil and gas industry. This year it was attended by some 70,000 delegates, speakers and exhibitioners from more than 100 countries. Its speakers come from the top ranks of industry, government and academia.
The report tells how Mexico’s “Silence Law” indirectly nixed discussion of the unprecedented opening of the country’s oil and gas resources to private investment. In fewer than 3 years, Mexico’s National Hydrocarbon Commission (CNH) held 8 lease auctions and awarded 107 contracts to nearly 80 companies from a dozen countries. What has been the experience of bidders and Pemex partners? What is the outlook for production and policy continuity? What could be improved? Such questions would ordinarily be the focus of OTC panels.
This year, however, a uniquely Mexican restriction of speech interfered with OTC programming. A “Silence Law” prohibits officials from speaking in public during the 3 months prior to a presidential election about their accomplishments. Prudently or otherwise, officials interpreted this law to include OTC. Given the unavailability of high-level government speakers, OTC decided to eliminate panels that would assess the success and misalignments of the upstream reforms.
Although absent from the program, Mexico was not absent from the premises. Pemex had a booth in the main exhibition hall and there was a Mexico Pavilion in an adjacent building.
Ulises Hernández was a last-minute, breakfast speaker on the final day. He spoke of Pemex’s plans to develop its portfolio and to seek partners for frontier plays. Ernesto Ríos, director of Mexico Petroleum Institute, said it could serve as a bidder’s engineering partner in a lease auction. The presentations showed the expanding commercial ambitions of these government agencies.
One panel on investments in the Gulf of Mexico featured a real-time survey via a cellphone app. One question asked about the “biggest inhibitor to unleashing Mexico’s oil potential.” 67% answered “political uncertainty.”
“Beyond matters concerning Mexico, OTC 2018 was another all-you-can-eat buffet of learning and networking opportunities regarding energy law, regulation and technology,” observed George Baker, MEI’s publisher.