Oil Industry Seeks Pemex Opportunities

Brazil's oil industry is seeking ways of participating in tenders held by Mexico's state oil company Pemex, according to Eloi Fernandez y Fernandez, general manager of Brazil's national oil industry organization (ONIP). "We organized a meeting with Pemex to show Brazilian businessmen opportunities outside the country," Fernandez told BNamericas, after meeting Tuesday with Pemex officials in Rio de Janeiro.

Pemex plans to invest some US$15bn a year for the next eight years across the whole range of the energy sector, from oil exploration and production to pipelines, refineries and co-generation, he said. While the businessmen examine those opportunities, ONIP is working with the Brazilian and Mexican governments to examine ways to improve access to the Mexican market, including the possibility of a bilateral free trade agreement for the oil sector, he said.

ONIP wants the possibility of such an agreement to be included in the visit by Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Mexico at the end of this month, he said, adding that the two countries already have an agreement for the automobile sector.

Local press reported that Mexico's ambassador to Brazil, Cecilia Soto Gonzalez, had called on the local oil industry to lobby the Brazilian government for support. Pemex's economic planning deputy manager Ariel Yepes Garcia was reported to have said that it has asked the Mexican government to waive the trade limitations, as these impose extra costs on its purchases. Meanwhile, the president of Brazil's state energy company Petrobras, Jose Eduardo Dutra, said he would like to sign a strategic partnership with Pemex. "The Gulf of Mexico is one of the focus areas for the international activities of Petrobras," Dutra said, quoted by Valor Economico.

Talks with Pemex officials have been underway for some time and should lead to the signature of a protocol of intentions, he said, without revealing further details.

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