Last month Enrique Pena Nieto, the President of Mexico, announced that he would introduce energy market reforms that would encourage private capital investment into the national oil industry, effectively ending Petroleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) monopoly of the Mexican oil industry.
Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire business tycoon, and richest man in the world, is set to take full advantage of this new opportunity to further increase his control over the countries commodity markets.
Lately Slim has been increasing his involvement in the energy markets in order to give him an advantage for when the time comes that Mexico’s market reforms come into effect later in the year.
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Carlos Slim is positioning himself to benefit from the end to Pemex’s monopoly.
Grupo Carso, the conglomerate managed by Carlos Slim, owns retail stores and industrial manufacturers in Mexico, but also runs the companies Servicios Integrales GSM, Swecomex, and Infraestructura y Construcción, which already provide drilling and oil platform services to Pemex, the world’s second largest non-publically listed company.
In February, Grupo Carso bought a 70% stake in Tabasco Oil Co. to give it access to the Colombian oil industry, and on the 3rd of July the company announced to the Mexican stock market the discovery of oil in northeast Colombia in the project known as Jagüeyes 3432-B. Slim is interested in increasing his investments in the Colombian oil industry due to the country’s open policies on exploration.
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Slim also bought an 8.4% stake in the Argentinian state owned energy company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), making him the fourth largest shareholder. He also invested in American oil service companies Bronco Drilling Co., and Allis-Chalmers Energy Inc.
Samuel Garcia, the senior financial journalist and Editor of Arena Publica, commented that “there is no doubt that Slim will be one of the most important private players in the potential opening of Mexico’s energy sector. Carso already has the framework to do business in Mexico’s oil sector in a substantial way.”
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com