Canadian capital and Mexico’s Energy Reform: A Legal Geographical Approach

Abstract / Resumen / Resumo

The recent reform of Mexico’s energy sector, underway since 2013, is the culmination of some decades of liberalization policies which aimed, in large part, to denationalize Mexico’s petroleum industry and to open the sector to investment from private, foreign firms. In reversing the historic nationalization of Mexico’s oil industry in 1938, the implementation of this reform has significant implications for the triumph of neoliberal globalization over the Global South even in a period of rising protectionism in the Global North. Both the United States and Canada played a significant role in promoting the reform of Mexico’s energy sector and in structuring the legislative changes that re-opened Mexico’s hydrocarbon resources to foreign control. Over the past two years, Canadian firms have benefited significantly from new pipeline and oil and gas contracts in Mexico. Employing a legal geographical approach, this paper examines Canadian involvement in the restructuring of Mexico’s oil and gas sector both spatially -through proximity, interests and influence in the North American energy market, and legally. The legal component operates through a form of ‘juridical pluralism’ in which the institutions of contemporary economic globalization, including the Canadian state, participate in legislative and regulatory shifts in the Mexican oil industry.