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Contribution to Book
The Mexican Petroleum License of 2013: A Step to the Past to Bring Mexico into the Present and the Grounds for an Uncertain Future
Handbook of Energy Law (Forthcoming) (2020)
  • Guillermo Garcia Sanchez, Texas A&M University School of Law
Petroleum in Mexico is not only a resource that has been used and abused by the State to finance its operations; petroleum runs in the veins of its national identity—oil rigs, barrels, and the State-owned company’s eagle are present in monuments across the nation and featured on coins and circulation bills.Official history books tell the story of how the Mexican revolution was fought partly to regain control of the hydrocarbons sector, which in 1910 was dominated by international oil companies. Consequently, to understand the legal nature of the Mexican petroleum license, one needs to review the history of the constitutional treatment of hydrocarbons in Mexico. The regulation of the sector is in constant tension between a deep-rooted policy of government control over the resource motivated by nationalism, and the need to attract and maintain foreign investment to keep production flowing. The rivalry between these goals has not always been resolved successfully, and at times, two legal structures exist in parallel with each other. On one hand, according to the Constitution, the State cannot grant concessions nor transfer the property of the resources to private parties because they belong to the nation. Only the State is empowered to extract and develop hydrocarbons in Mexico. On the other hand, secondary legislation creates a contractual structure that focuses on the maximization of the recovery and allows the government to transfer the hydrocarbons to private parties at the wellhead. In the middle of this contradiction lies the ammunition for politicians that lobby for a government-controlled energy sector to amend the law and renegotiate contracts with private parties.

  • Energy Law,
  • Mexico Energy Reform,
  • International Dispute Resolution,
  • Public International Law,
  • USMCA,
  • U.S.-Mexico Relations,
  • International Petroleum Transactions,
  • International Investment Law,
  • Oil and Gas,
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
Publication Date
Winter 2020
Tina Soliman Hunter, Ignacio Herrera, Penelope Crossley, and Gloria Alvarez
Citation Information
Guillermo Garcia Sanchez. "The Mexican Petroleum License of 2013: A Step to the Past to Bring Mexico into the Present and the Grounds for an Uncertain Future" Handbook of Energy Law (Forthcoming) (2020)
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