CRE's New Chairman Takes Office

Mexico's Comision Reguladora de Energia has a new chairman this week, after President Vicente Fox appointed Dionisio P‚rez-J come Friscione to a five-year term. P‚rez-J come had headed the Energy Ministry's Investment Promotion Unit and had also served in the ministry as executive director for Public Non-basic Petrochemical Companies.

In his previous positions, P‚rez-J come was responsible for the design of mechanisms to foster private participation in energy industries, facilitate projects aimed at strengthening the energy sector and serving as a mediator between private investors and public agencies.

P‚rez-J come has been involved in increasing investment in Mexico's energy sector, and he will be facing a similar agenda as he assumes the CRE chair. In November, CRE released a report warning that if new natural gas production did not come on-stream in Mexico in the next two to three years, the country would have to import more than half of its gas needs (see Daily GPI, Dec. 1). The country now imports about 7% of its gas, mostly from South Texas.

The CRE, which is responsible for power generation, forecasts that electric power demand in Mexico will grow at an annual rate of 6% in the next 10 years, which will require an annual investment of US$5 billion. However, the existing infrastructure will only last until 2004, CRE warns, and new investments are necessary to install more generating capacity and modernize transmission and distribution grids.

At the same time, natural gas demand will grow annually at a rate of 9% in the next 10 years, requiring an investment of US$2 billion per year to finance exploration and production programs, and add storage and distribution facilities.

P‚rez-J come , who holds a masters degree in public policy from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, is no stranger to international politics. Before working with the Energy Ministry, he participated in the free trade agreement negotiations with Canada and the United States, and was in charge of economic affairs at the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. He also has worked in the private sector as a consultant.

Four incumbent CRE commissioners will serve under P‚rez-J come until their terms expire, according to CRE. They are Javier Estrada, Rub‚n Flores, Ra£l Monteforte and Ra£l Nocedal.

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