Head of Mexico’s powerful oil regulator abruptly quits


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MEXICO CITY — Mexican senators will consider a new head of the country’s powerful oil regulator, according to legal announcements to lawmakers dated Wednesday and Thursday, after the current head abruptly resigned.

National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) President Rogelio Hernandez resigned effective at the end of last month, well before his seven-year term was set to expire in 2026, documents from Mexico’s interior ministry showed.

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The documents offered no reason for the resignation of Hernandez from a post that has traditionally been independent. Hernandez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Early on, he was seen as an ally of the president.

In a 2020 interview, Hernandez told Reuters he believed Pemex would quickly seek to form new joint ventures with foreign or private companies in an effort to attract outside investment and promote additional oil and gas developments.

But since then, the Pemex has not sought out any such new tie-ups, which are common and widely used in the international industry to share risks and rewards for what are often very costly projects.

In recent years, the CNH has butted heads with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has sought to give state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos a preferential role in the country’s energy market.

The CNH is legally obliged to regulate the energy market without playing favorites. In recent months the CNH fined Pemex for not complying with development plans for priority fields.

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It was created in 2008 during an earlier overhaul of the country’s energy sector that sought to boost investment by establishing new models of oil contracts as well as creating independent regulators.

Pemex saw its decades-long monopoly end five years later.

CNH evaluates and approves exploration and production plans for Pemex as well as foreign and private entrants into the market. It also ran a series of competitive oil auctions before Lopez Obrador canceled them shortly after taking office.

The documents add that senators will now evaluate three potential replacements offered by Lopez Obrador for them to consider. (Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Stephen Coates)


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