At the Core of Mexico's Energy Power Play

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 12:31

Throughout 2011, three dierent Energy Ministers served in the Calderón government. Georgina Kessel Martínez, an economist who had previously been head of the Mexican Mint, joined Calderón’s cabinet in 2006 as head of the Energy Ministry. She was instrumental in pushing through the 2008 Energy Reform and 2009 Pemex Law, and was widely praised as a Minister who understood the importance of reform for the future of the Mexican oil and gas industry. In January 2011, Kessel Martínez left the Energy Ministry to become General Director of Banobras, Mexico’s state-owned National Works and Public Services bank.

Kessel Martínez was succeeded by José Antonio Meade Kuribreña, a doctor in economics who previously served as the head of the Finance Ministry’s banking unit and as the head of financial planning for Mexico’s pension fund regulator. Meade Kuribreña was Energy Minister for nine months in 2011, and oversaw the signing of the first incentive-based contracts between Pemex and third parties; it was an important milestone in the country’s oil and gas development. In September 2011, Meade Kuribreña left the Energy Ministry to become Finance Minister, and was replaced by Jordy Herrera Flores, former Director of Pemex Gas and Petrochemicals and Subdirector of Energy Planning and Technological Development at the Energy Ministry.

The role of Energy Minister has always been important in Mexican politics (Calderón was Energy Minister before his presidential bid), but in the current environment the role is crucial; a safe and steady pair of hands at the wheel could help to successfully guide Mexico through a period of deep energy reform. Although previous Energy Ministers have been wellqualified for the job and have achieved impressive results during their time in oce, it seems as if the position of Energy Minister is still considered to be just a rung on the political career ladder, a position sometimes given to politicians with little to no experience in the energy sector, and not often occupied for very long.