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Mexico’s New President Has The Energy Sector On Edge

Mexico’s New President Has The Energy Sector On Edge

AMLO

Mexico’s historic energy reforms are now in focus with a change in administrations on the way.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) won a landslide victory in Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday, and appears poised to win majorities in both houses of Congress, granting him sweeping power to remake the country. His party, Morena, also won a large number of governor’s races and AMLO’s former environment minister from when he was mayor of Mexico City followed in his footsteps and won the election for mayor in the capital city.

The Mexican people, fed up with widespread corruption, poverty and violence, have handed AMLO a stronger mandate than any Mexican president in decades.

AMLO has long supported a nationalistic outlook on energy, and spent years criticizing the liberalization of Mexico’s energy reform. He repeatedly said that he would halt future auctions of Mexico’s offshore oil and gas reserves, while also promising to investigate already-awarded contracts for cases of fraud.

AMLO’s election has the oil and gas industry on edge, which fears that a swing to the left imperils its investments in the country. The majorities in Congress for AMLO’s Morena party could also neuter the strongest checks on his power.

However, the energy reforms passed under President Enrique Pena Nieto were codified with constitutional changes, which throws up a very high bar for to clear for any changes, meaning that AMLO, despite his landslide victory, still faces a steep uphill battle to roll back the partial-privatization of the oil and gas sector, if he were to go down that road.

AMLO has also suggested he would curtail or even end crude oil exports, diverting supplies for domestic refining. Mexico’s aging refineries are operating way below capacity, and Mexico has become increasingly dependent on imported fuel from the United States.

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