Energy reform promises tech transfer, patenting and investment bonanza for Chinese oil and gas players

by Osvaldo Amaral

When Mexico enacted the monopoly-breaking energy reforms back in December 2013 and its implementing regulations in August 2014, there was a clear objective in doing so: to stop the declining production by Mexico´s state oil and gas company, Pemex, and transform the Mexican oil and gas industry. The previous Mexican energy regulatory framework severely restricted collaboration with private investors and companies, creating an operating environment in which capital investment, technical expertise and state-of-the-art technology were clearly and widely lacking.

As Chinese oil and gas players look to expand their oil and gas operations internationally and look to invest in oil and gas assets overseas, the Mexican oil and gas moment proves to be timely and full of technology transfer, patenting and investment opportunities for the main Chinese oil and gas players such as China National Petroleum Corp., China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec), China National Offshore Oil Corp. (Cnooc) and Sinochem Group, among others. Technical expertise and state-of-the-art technology is needed in every level of the energy value chain in Mexico: from upstream exploration and production through midstream, distribution, refining and infrastructure. As the first bidding process for huge oil and gas offshore fields has started and considering the increased levels of patenting and technology transfer activity by Chinese oil and gas players in the past decade, the Mexican oil and gas environment proves to be an exciting and natural technology market outlet for Chinese oil and gas technology, particularly, in deepwater offshore exploration as well as in hard to produce heavy oil reserves in shallow waters and complex unconventional onshore formations.


Thus, the stage is set for greater involvement of Chinese oil and gas players with the right set of technology expertise and capital to enter and conquer the Mexican oil and gas industry under production-sharing contracts with the Mexican government under licenses and joint-ventures with Pemex.