Changes in the energy sector - “who wins & why?” The energy security paradigm has been broken. External changes have forced change in Mexico’s energy landscape - ongoing NAFTA re-negotiations, implementation of the largest tax cuts in the USA in 30 years, re-shaping of the TPP, 3 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mexico’s largest earthquake in a century. There are new demands from new generations of Mexican consumers, pushing an energy transition towards low carbon economies; the last energy auction in Mexico delivered electricity prices that broke the global lower limit for solar and wind. And there will be more changes coming soon - a new President, Senate & Congress. Mexico’s energy independence continues to decrease as its production of oil and gas declines, offshore and onshore drilling activity wanes, while imports of refined products and natural gas increase; energy reforms clearly take time to impact its energy outlook. Many energy investments are on hold pending resolution of complex social impact and environment issues, and we are yet to see the start of exploitation of Mexico’s large unconventional (shale) resources. Many voices argue that change is needed in the energy sector, that Mexico needs more energy reform; another energy reform to make investment more simple, less complex and lower cost, deliver free-market prices and to improve investor protection. Others argue that further reform and changing the rules brings instability and adds uncertainty, and that energy investments already have enough uncertainties. Some believe that energy should be subsidized.
So, in the energy sector in coming years, who wins & why? Is change too slow? Does Mexico need to go back to the drawing board and start again? Who wins if there is more energy reform? Without reform, will investors drift away from Mexico believing there are better opportunities for their capital elsewhere in North and South America? Is Mexico really an easy place to invest? What does high inflation and peso depreciation mean for energy investors? The winners will no doubt be those that understand the games in play, so which games are in play? What are companies doing to successfully navigate the energy landscape? Which changes are coming? Which energy consumers are happy? Which ones are not? Who will write the next chapters in Mexico’s energy history?