MEXICAN UPDATE – Mexico’s Landmark Energy Reform is Enacted
- Considering the Constitutional amendments enacted late last year, resulting in the opening of the energy industry to private investment, especially oil and gas, among other laws, the Federal Executive published the Hydrocarbons Act (“HA”) earlier last month. The HA reaffirms the newly revised principle enshrined in the Mexican Constitution that all hydrocarbons underground belong to the State and its rights thereto may not be transferred or encumbered.
- The HA gives the Ministry of Energy the power to award assignments to Petróleos Mexicanos (including its subsidiaries) or any other productive state enterprises (“PSEs”) to perform the recognition and superficial exploration, and the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (“E&P”), with the prior favorable opinion of the National Hydrocarbons Commission (the “CNH”), on round zero and on an exceptional basis thereon, as well as to amend them.
- The Mexican State may enter into contracts for E&P activities through the CNH with (i) Pemex, (ii) other PSEs or (iii) companies organized under Mexican law, or with consortiums entered into by any of these companies. Such contracts shall be awarded after a public tender process. The aforementioned joint ventures shall be governed by general commercial law and shall not be deemed public-private partnerships.
- The Energy Reform gave way to a new Law of the Electrical Industry, which establishes an entirely new regulatory framework for the power industry in Mexico where the Mexican state reserves exclusivity over certain strategic areas and otherwise permits the participation of private investment in all other areas that make up the power industry in the country, including the generation and open-market marketing of electricity.
- Energy Reform: Secondary Legislation.
On August 11, 2014, several new laws and amendments to existing legislation were published in the Federal Official Gazette (“DOF”) in order to implement the constitutional amendments related to the energy industry that were published in the DOF on December 20, 2013.
In the notes linked below we analyze the new Hydrocarbons Act and the new Law of the Electrical Industry, as well as other relevant legislation that was enacted or amended as part of this reform.
- New Hydrocarbons Act (Ley de Hidrocarburos).
As a result of the opening of the energy industry to private investment, especially oil and gas in the amendments to Articles 25, 27 and 28 of the Mexican Constitution, published on December 20, 2013, the Federal Executive published the Hydrocarbons Act, which is effective as of August 12, 2014, and repeals the Regulatory Act for Article 27 of the Constitution for the Petroleum Industry (Ley Reglamentaria del Artículo 27 Constitucional en Materia de Petróleo). The most relevant aspects of this law include the ability of the private sector to enter into exploration and extraction contracts with the state (under new schemes, namely, licenses, and production or profit sharing agreements), and to pursue activities such as refining, transportation, distribution and storage of hydrocarbons, as well as the importation and retail of gasoline and diesel. For a brief summary of Hydrocarbons Act, click here.
- New Law of the Electrical Industry (Ley de la Industria Eléctrica).
The new Law of the Electrical Industry (Ley de la Industria Eléctrica) repeals the former Law on the Electricity Public Service (Ley del Servicio Público de Energía Eléctrica), in effect since 1975, and establishes an entirely new regulatory framework for the power industry in Mexico, where the Mexican State reserves exclusivity over certain strategic areas and otherwise permits the participation of private investment in all other areas that make up the power industry in the country, including the generation and open-market marketing of electricity. For a brief summary of the Law of the Electrical Industry, click here.