MEXICO CITY – President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that agreements were reached with three of the four private companies that had won the seven contracts to build gas pipelines, saving Mexico some $4.5 billion.
“Via dialogue, you can reach agreements that are favorable for our nation,” Lopez Obrador said during his daily press conference at the National Palace.
The president was accompanied at the press conference by several of the executives who signed the agreement, including billionaire Carlos Slim.
Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, thanked the executives for their “willingness” to change the terms of the pipeline contracts.
AMLO said the original pipeline contracts too expensive and “harmful” to the country.
“Last night, an agreement was reached that I consider very important and beneficial for the nation because it is going to mean a savings of around $4.5 billion for the public coffers,” said AMLO, the leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena).
The president said that compared to the original contracts, the renegotiated deals would save the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) $4.5 billion.
In July, after ending international arbitration proceedings, the Mexican government and the private companies began talking about the contracts granted to build and manage gas pipelines.
The move to renegotiate the contracts affected TC Energy-TransCanada and Mexico’s IEnova and Grupo Carso, the latter an industrial conglomerate owned by Slim who is Mexico’s richest man with a fortune estimated by Forbes at $54.8 billion.
“Let’s recognize Carlos Slim, who was the first to reach an agreement with the CFE. This set the model for reaching the later agreements. But the companies (all) acted responsibly,” AMLO said.
CFE director Manuel Bartlett, for his part, said officials held three general meetings and 16 meetings with the individual firms.
“Reasonable and equitable agreements were reached,” the CFE director said.
The talks led to the renegotiation of the contracts held by Grupo Carso, IEnova and TC-Energy.
Under the revised contract terms, the regulatory system for rate-setting becomes “transparent and reflects real costs,” Bartlett said.
The deals are now “definitive, reasonable and balanced,” the CFE director said.
Lopez Obrador has promised to turn around the CFE and state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in an effort to make Mexico energy self-sufficient and keep energy prices down.