Mexico-OilFix 1stLd-Writethru 04-09 Web
Oil reform plan questioned
A line on a map of the Gulf of Mexico divides U.S. and Mexican claims to vast pools of oil deep below the ocean floor, and multinational companies are busily extracting crude north of this maritime border.
South of the line, Mexico’s state-run oil company has hardly begun exploring, a problem President Felipe Calderon hopes to solve with an initiative he unveiled on Tuesday.
Reaction was mixed on Wednesday. Calderon’s opponents denounced it as "privatization" that threatens Mexico’s sovereignty, while some oil analysts said it doesn’t begin to go far enough to boost sagging production.
"This is not by any means what the market was expecting or what it was hoping for," said Enrique Bravo, a Washington-based analyst for the Eurasia Group consulting firm.
But Bravo and other analysts also called it a first, critical step that could enable Petroleos Mexicanos to reach the deep-water oil reserves Mexico needs to sustain its economy.