Speaking for myself and on behalf of Mr. Ignacio Pichardo, the Secretary of Energy, I would like to extend to you a warm welcome to Mexico and to this beautiful and historical city of Villahermosa, Tabasco.

As you probably know, the natural gas industry in Mexico was managed and operated by the State with very limited access to the private sector. What this meant was that there was neither private ownership of pipelines nor distribution systems, very limited private investment and restrictions on free trade of the commodity.

As of June, 1995, we have new regulations regarding transportation, storage, and distribution of natural gas with private ownership of pipelines and distribution systems explicity allowed. There are no longer any restrictions on imports of natural gas, thus ending the Petroleos Mexicanos monopoly in this particular area.

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