The Economist compared Mexico’s attitude toward state ownership of oil to America’s tradition of gun ownership concluding that both are, “steeped in history.” In such cases, change is never easy. But the country’s oil reserves in the easy-to-access shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico are running low. The state-run gas and oil giant, Pemex, hasn’t been able to muster the expertise or funding to address the problem.
So President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed changing the constitution to allow private investment in Mexico’s oil industry. Is Mexico ready for such an historic move and what might the proposed reforms accomplish? To gain perspective on these and other questions, we spoke with Mexico Institute Director, Duncan Wood.
Duncan Wood is the Director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. For 17 years, Dr. Wood was a professor and the director of the International Relations Program at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) in Mexico City. He also held the role of researcher at the Centro de Derecho Económico Internacional (CDEI) at ITAM. He is a member of the Mexican National Research System (level 2), a member of the editorial board of Foreign Affairs Latinoamerica and has been an editorial advisor to Reforma newspaper. Between 2007 and 2009, he was technical secretary of the Red Mexicana de Energia, a group of experts in the area of energy policy in Mexico. He has been a Senior Associate with the Simon Chair and the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C. His research focuses on Mexican energy policy, including renewable energy, and North American relations.