Mexico's Pemex back in black, but production drops

Mexico City (AFP) –


Mexican state oil company Pemex returned to profit in the first quarter of the year, it reported Friday, but falling production continued to dog the firm.

Pemex posted net profits of 113 billion pesos ($6.2 billion) from January to March, up 29 percent from the same period last year, and an improvement on its $18 billion loss in the last three months of 2017.

It said its cost-cutting efforts over the past several years were paying off.

"Operating, management, distribution and sales expenses remained stable, following the austerity and discipline policy on expenditure the... company has put in place," it said in a statement.

Higher crude prices and a stronger peso gave the company a boost, it said.

But production fell 6.3 percent, to 1.9 million barrels per day.

Pemex, whose output peaked at 3.4 million barrels per day in 2004, has struggled for years with declining production.

In 2014, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto enacted a landmark energy reform that reopened the oil and gas sector to foreign investors in a bid to kickstart production and boost the economy.

Pemex generates about 16 percent of the Mexican state's revenue.

The company lost $17.9 billion on the year in 2017.