New billion-barrel oil find is first by private company in Mexican Gulf in 80 years

New billion-barrel oil find is first by private company in Mexican Gulf in 80 years

Jul 15, 2017

DOS BOCAS, Tabasco — Mexico’s decision to allow private companies to explore for oil and gas started to pay off after the discovery of at least a billion barrels in a new offshore field, Bloomberg News reported. A consortium of Premier Oil Plc, Sierra Oil & Gas S de RL de CV and Talos Energy LLC made the discovery in the shallow waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico just two years after winning the exploration license. It’s the first new find by a private company in the country in almost 80 years, according to consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd., possible only after the government ended the monopoly of state-run Petroleos Mexicanos. The Zama discovery, 60 km off the Tabasco coast, “is the most important achievement so far of Mexico’s energy reform,” Pablo Medina, the senior upstream analyst for Latin America at Wood Mackenzie, said by email. “It is one of the 15 largest shallow-water fields discovered globally in the past 20 years.” Chart: Bloomberg Mexico opened up to exploration by private companies in an effort to slow and eventually reverse the decline in its oil production. Its output fell by about a third over the past decade, according to data from BP Plc. The nation pumped 2.5 million barrels a day on average last year, the lowest level in more than 30 years. After the country initially struggled to lure interest in its fields, companies including Italian giant Eni SpA have been bidding for licenses and making discoveries. Eni’s earlier oil find came from extended drilling on an existing well. Tony Durrant, Premier Oil cheif executive. (handout photo) When Premier Oil and its partners spudded the Zama-1 exploration well in May, the estimates were for as much as 500 million barrels of oil in place. In an interview on Wednesday July 12, Tony Durrant, the chief executive officer of Premier Oil said that figure is now 1 billion to 1.5 billion barrels. Sierra said the primary target reservoir contains 1.4 billion to 2 billion barrels and could extend into a neighboring block. Premier is taking a “reasonable guess” but said its partners may deem it’s being “too cautious,” Durrant said. Full drilling results due next month are more likely to confirm or upgrade current estimates,...

Money-laundering situation pushes Mexico into dollar transfer business

Money-laundering situation pushes Mexico into dollar transfer business

Jul 12, 2017

Bloomberg reports that Mexico’s government is taking an unusual step to weather a U.S. money-laundering crackdown that threatens to hobble dollar-fueled businesses from Cancun hotels to Tijuana beauty salons: It’s getting into the dollar-transfer business. The country’s central bank will soon unveil an electronic system designed to ease U.S. dollar transfers between Mexican businesses, said Banco de Mexico spokesman Ricardo Medina. The network will let businesses send U.S. currency to each other through a clearinghouse overseen by the central bank and moving through a bank in the U.S., according to a central bank official familiar with the program, who said the system could be introduced as soon as next month. The move addresses a growing problem in Mexico: Several foreign banks have cut ties with Mexican counterparts in recent years. Bankers and officials in Mexico fear further barriers to financial flows between their country, Latin America’s second-largest economy, and the U.S., its biggest trading partner. Large swaths of Mexico’s $1.3 trillion economy rely on the dollar, from manufacturers in border zones such as Ciudad Juarez to travel-industry businesses in spots like Puerto Vallarta. Transferring dollars through the U.S. has become harder, Mexican lenders say, after U.S. regulators and law enforcers cracked down on banks that didn’t flag transfers linked to Mexican drug cartels or other criminals. In recent years, international banks have paid more than $2 billion for lapses including the failure to flag suspicious dollar transactions between the countries. That has led other banks to sever ties pre-emptively — a process euphemistically known as “de-risking.” The illicit drug trade in the U.S. generates $64 billion a year, according to an estimate by the U.S. Treasury Department, which calls Mexico the primary supplier or transit point for some drugs. But illicit-drug revenues pale in comparison with the $531 billion in legitimate trade between the two countries. “Clearly, the U.S. government doesn’t want to drive banks into such de-risking activity that they can’t bank anymore with Mexico,” said Robert McBrien, a former associate director for global targeting at the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. “You don’t want to wipe out that financial flow — you want transparency.” No ‘Silver Bullet’ That’s where the central bank steps in. Banco de Mexico...

FOODGARDEN: the ultimate “urban food court” experience in Tijuana

FOODGARDEN: the ultimate “urban food court” experience in Tijuana

Jul 9, 2017

There is no doubt that Tijuana, Baja California has opened the eyes of many hungry and adventurous food enthusiasts. The food scene in Tijuana is way more innovative than in other Mexican border cities including Mexicali, Nogales, Ciudad Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa or Matamoros (just to name a few). The luxe lonchería craze never really hit Tijuana, a city where street food is everywhere and even the sharpest licenciado ever to wear a fancy custom suit and shined shoes will line up for tacos varios, birria or ceviche. Instead, they created food courts, the best of which is Foodgarden, where you can try Tijuana’s famous quesa-tacos (tacos in which the filling is enveloped in crispy mozzarella cheese), vegetarian fare, chilaquiles, etc. Come hungry; you’ll want to stop at more than one booth. Two locations: Blvd. Sánchez Taboada just east of Blvd. Abelardo L. Rodríguez, Tijuana. Plaza Río, Paseo de los Héroes between Ave. Independencia and Blvd. Cuauhtémoc,...

U.S. energy secretary promotes pact with Mexico and Canada amid NAFTA changes

U.S. energy secretary promotes pact with Mexico and Canada amid NAFTA changes

Jun 30, 2017

The U.S. has a unique opportunity to develop a “North American energy strategy” with Canada and Mexico, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, striking a conciliatory tone with the other members of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Bloomberg News reported that while President Donald Trump has blasted Nafta and moved to renegotiate it, Perry referred to the upcoming talks to rework the 1994 trade pact as a “massage” of it, saying it presents an opportunity to bolster energy ties, not enact new trade barriers. “That relationship I don’t think has ever been more important than it is today, particularly from an energy perspective,” Perry told reporters at the White House last week, while stressing his close ties with his counterparts in Ottawa and Mexico City. “Energy is going to play a very important role.” His comments came at the outset of so-called “Energy Week” from the White House, as Trump highlights his efforts to reduce regulations on energy producers and jump-start energy exports. Perry’s comments are nonetheless the latest signal Trump’s cabinet is warming to trade ties with Canada and Mexico — whether it’s lauding Nafta and its impact on farmers or saying any revisions of the pact will be good for the U.S. neighbors, as well. “Energy is an ideal area for the Trump administration to move forward with the relationship,” Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, said in a telephone interview. Trump has long advocated for American energy dominance, Wood said: “But everybody knows that for the United States to do that on its own is a pipe dream in the short term at least — but for North America working together, it becomes feasible.” To read complete article click here. Source: Bloomberg...

U.S. will seek to negotiate “compliant” labor standards in NAFTA

U.S. will seek to negotiate “compliant” labor standards in NAFTA

Jun 26, 2017

Washington, Jun. 22 (Notimex) – White House Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today accepted the suggestion by Democratic lawmakers to seek to negotiate the inclusion of enforceable labor standards within the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “We hope to negotiate an agreement that has labor standards that can be achieved,” he said to the members of the House Committee on Means and Procedures after repeated comments from Democrats on the subject of the pay gap between Mexican and American workers. Michigan Democrat Sander Levin reminded to Lighthizer that Mexican workers earn, on average, just 19 percent of the salaries that Americans receive for similar job positions at major US car companies. “Do I believe that Mexican labor laws have had a negative effect on the United States?” Asked the White House trade representative. “Yes, I think so,” immediately he replied to himself. “If we are going to lower the deficit, if we are going to have an appropriate agreement, that can be approved, it has to have an effect on that … The Mexican government understands that there is a problem and they are taking measures which I believe is a good sign “he added. Lighthizer said that the position of the US President Donald Trump and that of the Democrats on labor standards “are not far off each.” Although some Democrats suggested conditioning for the start of NAFTA negotiations to reach agreement on labor issues, the trade representative made it clear that legally it is not possible because he cannot negotiate anything before August 16. In contrast, Republican lawmakers called on the trade representative to not to risk the success of NAFTA for the US agricultural sector during negotiations. “Our trade agreements, including NAFTA, have been tremendously successful,” recalled Texas Media House chairman Kevin Brady. “They have created US jobs, lowered consumer prices, and helped our businesses to compete in agriculture, services, and manufacturing. We have to take action to strengthen our current agreements, “added the legislator. Lighthizer assured members of the Committee that one of the objectives of the NAFTA negotiations would be not to affect US agricultural exports to Mexico. “It is very important that we do no...

Governor Kiko Vega’s tour will continue in Italy and Spain

Governor Kiko Vega’s tour will continue in Italy and Spain

Jun 22, 2017

The European schedule of Governor Kiko Vega will continue after the Paris Air Show, but he will be back to Mexico on July 1st, and Secretary of Economic Development, Carlo Bonfante will continue working visiting Germany and Iceland, in the last leg of the investment attraction and State promotion tour. Governor Kiko Vega will meet with Mexico’s Ambassador in Rome, Italy, Juan Jose Guerra Abud where he will visit some industrial parks in an event coordinated by ProMexico. In Milano, with Mexico’s Consul, Marisela Morales, he will get together with the Wine Producers Association of Italy to establish links and bonds with this relevant sector and the wine producers from Guadalupe Valley, Baja California. Next, Vega de Lamadrid will visit Spain, where he will meet representatives from companies which might become feasible investment prospects in relevant areas such as infrastructure and metal-mechanics. The last leg of the tour , from June 30th to July 5th will be headed by Carlo Bonfante, Economic Development Secretary who will attend investment seminars altogether with ProMexico in Munich, Germany and will gather with top executives of Ossur an Iceland company already operating in Baja...