Mexico’s Petroleum and U.S. Policy

Implications for the 1980s

by David Ronfeldt, Richard Nehring, Arturo Gandara

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This report analyzes key factors that will influence Mexico's future petroleum policies, projects expected policy outcomes, and assesses the implications of these policies for U.S. interests, objectives, and options for the 1980s. The discussion covers (1) a region-by-region survey of Mexico's reserves, resources, and production possibilities--both future discoveries and further development of known fields--a resource assessment that is used to present several potential oil production profiles Mexico might choose; and (2) the idealized traditions of Mexico's petroleum nationalism, how these traditions may constrain its policy choices, and how they influence energy negotiations with the United States. The authors conclude (1) Mexico will probably choose low to moderate levels of petroleum production and export; (2) encouraging Mexico to maximize oil production and exports would not be in the best interests of either country; and (3) U.S. interests in Mexico are too complex and multidimensional to be dominated by petroleum issues.

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