"COATZINTLA, Mexico — For seven decades, Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly and a mainstay of the government’s revenue, regulated itself — which is a polite way of saying it could do pretty much as it pleased."
"No authority challenged the wisdom of investments like the billions it has spent here in the Chicontepec oil field to extract just a trickle of petroleum even as private companies have pulled torrents from similar shale rock in Texas and North Dakota.
The company’s safety procedures went largely unscrutinized as it joined the oil majors drilling in deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico. And the company faced no serious consequences for not keeping its promises to raise output or operate more efficiently.
But in the last few years, that has begun to change. The tiny National Hydrocarbons Commission, created by the Mexican Congress in 2008 to increase regulatory oversight of the company, is proving to be a surprisingly sharp thorn in Pemex’s side."
Elisabeth Malkin reports for the New York Times April 23, 2012.