Mexico to cancel February auctions for oil and gas blocks

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office Dec. 1, replacing Enrique Pena Nieto. (File/AFP)
Updated 09 December 2018
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Mexico to cancel February auctions for oil and gas blocks

  • Two bidding rounds would be canceled, including those for 37 onshore blocks and 9 unconventional and conventional areas, including shale resources
  • Lopez Obrador has sharply criticized the landmark energy opening enacted by his predecessor, President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose government planned the February auctions

MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s energy secretary Rocio Nahle said on Saturday that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s newly installed administration would cancel two February bidding rounds for oil and gas blocks, including Mexico’s first shale areas on offer.
Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec. 1, has sharply criticized the landmark energy opening enacted by his predecessor, President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose government planned the February auctions.
The new president previously said he would suspend future oil auctions pending a review of the more than 100 contracts already awarded, but has not detailed what would become of the auctions slated for February.
Mexico’s oil industry is struggling to stem a long-running crude output decline, posing one of the biggest challenges for Lopez Obrador’s six-year term. He has yet to disclose a full plan for the sector.
Nahle told reporters at an event in the state of Chiapas on Saturday that two bidding rounds would be canceled. Together they would have auctioned off 46 oil and gas blocks, including the first shale areas in Mexico to be offered to private and foreign oil companies.
The dense rock has been successfully tapped over the past decade in the United States, including the lucrative Eagle Rock formation in Texas just across Mexico’s northern border.
Nahle did not address auctions for partnership rights for seven onshore joint venture contracts with national oil company Pemex, which are also scheduled for February.
Under Mexican law, the independent oil regulator known as the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) runs the auctions and supervises contracts. The commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lopez Obrador’s energy initiatives have so far focused on reducing fuel prices by building a new refinery in his home state of Tabasco, where he is expected to announce details of the project on Sunday.
He has also encouraged private oil producers already awarded contracts in Mexico to deliver barrels quickly. 


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 23 March 2019
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.