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Mexican president begins visit to Brazil
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07:53, August 18, 2009

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Mexico's President Felipe Calderon began an official visit to Brazil including a visit to the nation's state-owned oil company Petrobras, where he praised the company's 1998 change of structure, according to a statement issued by Mexico's President's Office on Monday.

Calderon visited Petrobras' Research and Development Center in Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro and met with Petrobras' Chief Executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli late on Sunday, his first day in Brazil. He will meet Brazil's President Luis Inacio da Silva on Monday.

Mexico's state-run energy giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) "could learn from all the structural transformations that Petrobrashas been through, which have allowed it to triple its hydrocarbon production in the last 10 years," Calderon told media.

Until 1998, Petrobras had a similar structure to Pemex at present -- wholly state owned and unable to sign production or profit sharing agreements. After that year, it sold shares in major world stock markets and signed such deals, and is now increasing production by around 7.5 percent a year, according to Gabrielli. Petrobras is now 60 percent owned by private investors and valued at 100 billion U.S. dollars.

Calderon said he was keen to put together a deeper agreement between Pemex and Petrobras to learn from the Brazilian company that is a world leader in deep water drilling, producing oil at some 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) of water depth.

Mexico wants to "boost both nations' productive capacity in benefit of our people and the region," he said.

Pemex, the only company allowed to explore for oil in Mexico, has seen production drop for the last five years, as its largest field, Cantarell in the Gulf of Mexico, has declined at more than 30 percent a year. It is drilling a small number of wells in the deep waters of the Mexican owned Gulf of Mexico, but Petrobras is drilling in far deeper waters both in Brazil and on the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico.

Mexico sought to reform Pemex last year, with many PAN politicians citing Petrobras as a possible model. The initial radicalism was scaled back and a limited reform was passed, which left Pemex's structures for ownership and collaboration unchanged.

Source: Xinhua

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