The Impact of the 2013 Mexican Energy Policy Reform on the Country's Democracy

Since the 1938 Expropriation, Mexico had administered its petroleum resources through the monopolistic NOC Pemex until 2013, when President Peña Nieto proposed a Decree to reform the energy policy, opening the sector to private investment and separating the administrative functions. The Reform looks for the development of an industry that has systematically been inefficient and uncompetitive, nowadays operating under a financial deficit. The spectrum of opinions regarding the governmental decision are wide in every level; from International Rating Agencies upgrading the Mexican rate, to the claim of an eventual petroleum looting by international companies and a sovereignty loss, damaging the Mexican democracy.
This study conducts a research to reveal the reasons behind Pemex –and the Mexican industry’s– underdevelopment, that involves a hegemonic-party regime ruling Mexico for more than seventy years by means of corruption, authoritarianism and repression; together with the analysis of the Norwegian Model, probably only national scheme that has successfully reverted the oil hinders democracy effect, in order to construct a model as a relying point of comparison to determine the impact of the 2013 Energy Policy Reform on the country’s democracy. The main findings are that 1) the unnecessary process of the 1938 expropriation granted over-constitutional powers to the official party and contributed to the origin of three negative factors within Pemex: its relationship with the petroleum workers union, the governmental over-trespassing in its control and its untenable contributions burden, and that 2) while the 2013 Energy Policy Reform undoubtedly impacted positively on the Mexican democracy, there is still much to do regarding to the governmental influence over Pemex and the energy sector.
Javier A. Becerril, M.A.