Aware of these sensitivities, Pemex Director General Lozoya countered in a blog posted on Mexico’s presidency web site that Pemex, “will remain a public entity and oil resources will remain the property of the nation.” But Duncan Wood, president of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Mexican Institute, nonetheless believes that in recent years, “Mexicans have shown a softening on this sensitivity, in part due to generational change, in part due to political change, and in part due to the success of negotiating a U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement in 2012.”

In a recent paper published by the Washington-based think tank, Wood said that it is “widely expected” that the Peña Nieto government will present an energy reform initiative to the Mexican Congress early in 2013.

“While it is still unknown how ambitious that reform proposal will be, it is thought that the government will present an initiative that will aim at opening the sector to greater levels of private participation in refining, petrochemicals and even in exploration and production.”

An energy overhaul,  a precondition for increasing Mexican oil production, will require a Constitutional amendment, approved by both chambers of Congress and by more than half  of the state legislatures.  Analysts believe that this has become more likely thanks to the Pact of Mexico, a deal signed by all three major political parties in December that outlines 95 mutual commitments, including changes in Pemex and the telecommunication sector.