Category Archives: Energy

Ex-Pemex chief Lozoya received US$ 5 million bribe, per Odebrecht

Former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya was directly implicated in the Odebrecht bribery scandal.  According to one of the unsealed plea bargain agreements being reviewed by Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF), Lozoya was paid US$ 5.0 million in November 2014 “as a counterpart to undue benefits obtained by Odebrecht.”

In the STF document dated April 4, 2017, Hilberto Mascarenhas, the head of Odebrecht’s “Structured Operations” section, which handled all the bribe payments, said he was directed to make the payment to Lozoya, and that the bribe “was solicited” during a meeting held with Odebrecht’s Mexico head.

As reported by El Economista,

Lozoya denied having anything to do with the supposed bribes paid by Odebrecht.  It has not yet been clarified if it was Lozoya himself who solicited the bribe, or someone acting on his behalf, or whether the bribe was actually paid.

Lozoya, who led Pemex from the end of 2012 to February 2016, warned: ‘I reserve the right to take legal action against those who slander me without any legal basis.’

Pemex has not commented on the Lozoya allegations.

Odebrecht has confessed to paying Mexican officials a total of US$10.5 million between 2010 and 2014, a time frame spanning both the Calderón and Peña Nieto governments.  No other names of alleged bribe recipients have been disclosed.

Bidding deadline for offshore shallow-water oil fields pushed back to October

The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) last week postponed the bidding deadline for the Ayin-Batsil oil fields from June 19 to October 4, 2017.

The CNH said more time was needed for potential bidders to pre-qualify. To date, three companies have shown interest, and one has been prequalified.

Ayin-Batsil locationThe tender for a 30-year “farm-out” production sharing agreement with Pemex was announced last March, and follows on the successful farm-out of the Trion deep water field last December.  Pemex will retain a 50% interest, while the partner will re responsible for developing and operating the fields. They are expected to require US$ 4.2 billion to develop.

The production sharing agreements – made possible by the 2014 energy reforms — are a key part of Pemex’s plan to stabilize production levels, while reducing capex.

The Ayin and Batsil fields are in shallow waters in the Gulf of Campeche, near some of Pemex’s largest producing fields.  They hold an estimated 281 mm barrels of oil equivalent (46 mmboe proved).

Sources:  Excelsior, Milenio

Pemex discloses Odebrecht contracts as part of corruption probe

In a major reversal — and perhaps a major step forward in investigating official corruption — Pemex today disclosed four contracts it signed with Brazilian contractor Odebrecht between 2010 and 2015.

Pemex_logoThe state-owned oil company had previously said the contracts were under seal.  Pemex also said that the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) on April 3d summoned several unnamed current and former officials to provide testimony.

Until now, the government had seemed to be dragging its feet in investigating the information provided by Odebrecht as part of its plea bargain agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, made public in December, that it had paid US$10.5 million in bribes to “government officials” in Mexico to win contracts between 2010 and 2014.  One US$6 million bribe was paid to a “high-level official of a Mexican state-owned and state-controlled company”–presumably Pemex–between December 2013 and late 2014. The CEO at that time was Emilio Lozoya, and he is reportedly one of the Pemex officials being summoned by the PGR.

More coverage at ReutersEl Financiero.

 

Pemex board reportedly opens corruption investigations

According to columnist Ana Paula Ordorica, the Pemex board of directors opened investigations into three issues that occurred  when Emilio Lozoya was head of the state oil company:  contracts with the Brazilian contractor Odebrecht, the purchase of two fertilizer companies,  and the acquisition of nine aircraft.

Lozoya, a close personal friend of Enrique Peña Nieto, was CEO of Pemex from the beginning of the EPN government in Dec. 2012 to Feb. 2016.

Odebrecht has confessed to paying US$10.5 million in bribes to Pemex officials,  during both the Calderón and EPN governments. (The Odebrecht contracts have been put under seal.) Little apparent progress has been made by Mexican authorities in pursuing a corruption case that was handed them on a silver platter.

In Jan. 2014 and Jan. 2016, Pemex inexplicably purchased two fertilizer manufacturing companies for a total of US$730 million, for reasons that have never been explained adequately.  (The documents justifying the purchase were also placed under seal for 12 years.)  In January 2017, the company hired UBS to sell the money-losing operations.

Finally, Pemex purchased 5 airplanes and 4 helicopters while Lozoya was CEO for almost US$100 million “to strengthen Pemex’s operational capabilities.” However, according the audits of the company, at least four of the aircraft were never entered as assets in the company’s books, and they appear to have been used for personal purposes.

Pemex puts Odebrecht contracts under seal until 2020

In response to requests for information about its Odebrecht contracts under the transparency laws, Pemex Industrial Transformation (the refining arm) acknowledged two contracts but said that they had been put under seal until February 2023.  The company said that “to disclose the contracts would put at risk the investigations being carried out by PGR and SFP,” (the Justice Ministry and the Public Function Secretariat).

Perhaps another sign that the investigation of the bribes that Odebrecht confessed paying between 2010 and 2014 will be less than vigorous.

2nd Weekend of protests–some violent — against gasoline price hikes

Protests continued around the country against the Jan. 1 gasoline price hikes last weekend.  A peaceful protest in Monterrey at the Governor’s Palace was taken over by anarchists and became violent, with stained glass windows smashed and fires set.  Police reportedly stood by and did nothing.  President Peña Nieto’s brief New Year’s televised message on the 5th was milquetoast.  The gasoline price hikes, he said,

Come from abroad.  The government will not receive one cent more in taxes from the increase.  To try to maintain an artificial price for gasoline would have required us to cut social programs, increase taxes or increase the country’s debt, putting at risk the stability of the entire economy.

 

Calderón reshuffles cabinet with an eye to 2012 campaign

On Saturday, President Felipe Calderón announced a cabinet reshuffle, with an eye to the 2012 election. Juan Molinar Horcasitas, one of Calderón’s closest political advisers, resigned as Secretary of Communications and Transportation in order “to participate intensively in political-party work that is important for the life of the country” according to the President’s statement. He is being replaced by Dionisio Pérez-Jácome, who has been Undersecretary of Finance for Expenditures and who also briefly served as presidential chief of staff.

Molinar’s record as head of SCT was not stellar. The ministry continued to be bedeviled by technical problems in executing the government’s ambitious transportation infrastructure program. And little headway was made in the area of telecommunications policy, where the award of a large bloc of wireless spectrum to a Nextel-Televisa consortium was drowned in a sea of lawsuits and the withdrawal of Televisa.

The President also named congressman Roberto Gil Zuarth as his new private secretary, replacing Luis Felipe Bravo Mena.  Gil Zuarth had been widely seen as the President’s preferred candidate to take over the PAN in the party’s recent election of a new leader (an election won by Senator Gustavo Madero).  Bravo Mena is returning to the private sector.

As noted by El Universal’s Bajo Reserva column:  “Inside and outside his party, the PAN, the reading [of the changes] was the same: it is a signal that Calderón is not packing his bags and ready to give up power, perhaps to a political adversary. [The appointments] announced yesterday were a demonstration that he will give battle to everyone, including those within his own party.”

Georgina Kessel moves from Secretary of Energy to the President of Banobras, the development bank. She replaces Alonso García Tamés, who returns to the private sector.

José Antonio Meade, Undersecretary of Finance, becomes the new Secretary of Energy. Meade becomes the last of the senior level technocratic ‘old guard’ of the Ministry of Finance to leave, a process that started with the appointment of Ernesto Cordero as Finance Secretary in December 2009.

(Presidencia 1/8)