MEXICO CITY – State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos posted net income of 1.44 billion pesos ($113 million) in the first quarter of 2010, compared with a loss of nearly $2.16 billion during the same period last year.
In a filing with the Mexican stock exchange, Pemex said this result was due mainly to higher prices of crude exports and the appreciation of the peso relative to the U.S. dollar.
In the first three months of 2010, Pemex registered total revenue of 307.88 billion pesos ($24.07 billion), 35.9 percent higher than the first quarter of 2009, while operating profit rose 47.6 percent to 137.56 billion pesos ($10.75 billion).
The first quarter of 2009 was the nadir of the recent global recession.
In the first quarter of 2010, Pemex paid 172.04 billion pesos ($13.45 billion) in taxes and royalties, an increase of 77.5 percent compared to the first three months of 2009.
The company’s total debt amounted to 624.1 billion pesos ($50.62 billion), down 1 percent relative to March of last year, due mainly to “the 12.9 percent appreciation of the peso relative to the dollar,” Pemex said.
The filing added that Pemex’s net debt climbed 3.7 percent to 505.5 billion pesos ($40.99 billion).
In the first quarter, crude production fell 2.2 percent to 2.7 million barrels per day compared to the same period of 2009, while natural gas output was down 1 percent to 6.95 billion cubic feet per day.
Export volume declined by 1.9 percent to 1.25 million bpd, the result of lower crude production.
Pemex had a staff of more than 153,400 employees, 6.7 percent higher than at the end of March 2009.
Mexican oil output has been falling steadily in recent years because no new major finds have been made and Pemex’s former main field – the shallow, offshore Cantarell – has declined sharply from its peak at mid-decade.
Current production is down from an average of 3.07 million bpd in 2007 and 3.4 million bpd in the peak year of 2004. That has put a strain on public finances because oil revenues fund roughly 30 percent of the federal budget.
President Felipe Calderon in 2008 sought to push a controversial plan through Congress to overhaul Pemex, including allowing the cash-strapped company to take on private oil firms as full partners in the exploration and drilling of new deepwater deposits in the Gulf of Mexico.
But leftist lawmakers fiercely opposed the initial bill, claiming that the aim of the government was to privatize Pemex, created after President Lazaro Cardenas’s nationalization of the oil industry in 1938.
After months of debate, a revised bill was passed that gives Pemex more freedom to undertake projects with private firms, but excludes the provisions of Calderon’s original initiative that would have allowed them a stake in the oil or any eventual profits. EFE