Opening of Offshore Oil Business in Mexico and Associated Framework to Cope with Potential Maritime Security Threats
the International Journal on Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation
After 75 years of State oil monopoly, Mexico performed the first business oil round in 2015 involving the private sector. This auction-round offered 14 oil exploration fields located on the continental shelf to private companies. The development and exploitation of these hydrocarbon fields faces significant challenges regarding security. The economic loss for theft of hydrocarbons through illegal connections to pipelines is estimated to 973 million, 125 thousand U.S. dollar, only for the year of 2014. While productive research has been made, it has mainly focused on transportation systems and basically, pipelines. The development and establishment of policies prioritizing maritime security and protection of critical offshore infrastructure against theft of hydrocarbons, drugs organizations and terror attacks needs to be included in the national agenda to improve maritime security and mitigate potential security threats at sea, including damage to the marine environment. This could increase the trust of investors and stakeholders and would contribute to the faster development of new exploration and production fields. While the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) is the cornerstone for the construction of the port's security program and establishes the requirements of the Port Facility Security Plan (PFSP), including oil port facilities, it has not been fully implemented in several important Mexican ports. It is concluded that some important ports lack many of the core security processes, procedures and controls that should be included in any PFSP. This article briefly reviews the situation of the oil industry from a security perspective and discusses key elements of maritime security; addressing the necessity of the inclusion of maritime security and protection of critical oil infrastructure offshore in the national agenda that would provide for future research directions in the maritime security domain and contribute to the establishment of a national maritime security policy.