The Future of Oil in Mexico
El petróleo mexicano pertenece al pueblo mexicano (“Mexico’s oil belongs to Mexico’s people). That matters, because throughout the 20th century, Mexico was one of the world’s major oil producers – and for much of the time an important exporter as well. The super-giant Cantarell field alone has generated almost a half trillion U.S. dollars in revenue since it began producing in 1978. That field is now nearing exhaustion, but Mexico’s geological potential remains highly prospective. Future generations can still hope to obtain great benefit from the vast, complex heavy oil reserves in Chicontepec or from further world-class finds under the Gulf of Mexico. But these prospects are costly and uncertain, and present new challenges for the Mexican government. It will take advanced technology to produce the next tranche of resources that represent the future of oil in Mexico. Given the geologically challenging nature of these resources, the current generation of Mexicans faces at least a decade of struggle to reverse the current steep decline in the country’s oil production, which has fallen more than 25% since its 2004 peak.