MEXICO CITY — Mexico's state-owned oil corporation is preparing for a taste of the free market in the resin industry.
Petroleos Mexicanos, widely known as Pemex, is working with industry representatives on a simplified formula for determining resin prices, and otherwise making operations more competitive with imported products.
``The idea is to give commercial activities more weight than operations,'' and to change from concentrating solely on resin production, said Raul Livas Elizondo, director general of Pemex-Petroquimica.
Interviewed Dec. 16 in his Mexico City office, Livas said Pemex is analyzing each aspect of the client-supplier relationship.
``When there is a monopoly, the customer has to take the product or go without; now there's competition and we have to fight to sell,'' he said.
Examples currently under consideration include investigating whether some resins can be improved by changing the formula, studying which petrochemical complex produces which products, and simplifying pricing formulas.
Traditionally, Pemex prices are approved by an internal pricing committee. Any changes have to be approved by the federal government's economic cabinet.
Pemex is the only authorized local manufacturer of nine basic petrochemicals, but private firms can produce, import and export more than 50 secondary petrochemicals.
For example, U.S. companies import polypropylene, meaning Pemex PP prices are influenced heavily by U.S. prices.
The long-planned privatization of 49 percent of Pemex's petrochemical plants continues to face delays, but officials say the first sell-off will take place in late 1998.