Mexico may have to import oil as Carlos Slim becomes the richest man in the world
The national oil company created after the 1938 seizure, Pemex, is entering a period of turmoil. Oil production in its aging fields is sagging so rapidly that Mexico, long one of the world’s top oil–exporting countries, could begin importing oil within the decade.
Mexico is among the three leading foreign suppliers of oil to the United States, along with Canada and Saudi Arabia. Mexican barrels can be replaced, but at a cost. It means greater American dependence on unfriendly countries like Venezuela, unstable countries like Nigeria and Iraq, and on the oil sands of Canada, an environmentally destructive form of oil production.
“As you lose Mexican oil, you lose a critical supply,” said Jeremy M. Martin, director of the energy program at the Institute of the Americas at the University of California, San Diego. “It’s not just about energy security but national security, because our neighbor’s economic and political well–being is largely linked to its capacity to produce and export oil.”
Mexico probably still has plenty of oil, especially beneath the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but Pemex lacks the technology and know–how to get it out. Inviting foreign companies into the country to help is one of the touchiest propositions in Mexican politics.
As the Mexican government struggles to find a way forward, production keeps falling.
The basic problem is simply that Mexico’s readily accessible oil is used up — pretty much the same thing that happened to the United States when production began falling in the 1970s. Output from Mexico’s giant Cantarell field, in shallow waters near the eastern shore, has plunged by 50 percent in recent years. Output at the country’s other large field is expected to begin falling in the next year or two.
Historically, oil has supplied 30 to 40 percent of the Mexican government’s revenue. Confronting a potential calamity, President Felipe Calderón has pushed through the strongest reforms he can defend politically, in hopes of attracting foreign investment. But he dare not do anything that would appear to reverse the 1938 nationalization. Even the modest reforms he has managed to pass are being challenged in court.
Officially, the government is optimistic that Mexico can reverse its decline as an oil–producing nation. But its efforts so far have yielded more rhetoric than oil.
Mexican telecom giant Carlos Slim has topped Forbes magazine’s billionaire’s list – the first time since 1994 that an American has not led the rankings.
Mr Slim’s fortune rose by $18.5bn (£12.4bn) last year to $53.5bn.
That beat Microsoft founder Bill Gates ($53bn) into second place, with US investor Warren Buffet ($43bn) third.
In 2009 332 names left the list after a tough year, but the total number of billionaires on this year’s list rose from 793 to 1,011, Forbes said.
The year’s biggest gainer, Brazilian mining tycoon Eike Batista, broke into the top 10 for the first time.
He came in at number seven, having boosting his wealth by $19.5bn to $27bn.
well hes not on top by much but he is top..anyone remember that video last year of the lady in mexico claiming slim was a reptile?..love to see the link again if anyone has it..and mexico running out of onshore oil..they will be dependent on somebody now..