Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya Austin. Image courtesy of World Economic Forum/Flickr.

Pemex bondholders are growing concerned over the company’s financial health after the Mexican government took $3.4 billion from the state owned explorer and producer late last month.

The Finance Ministry said it withdrew the funds on December 26 to “make management of public-sector finances more efficient” as the country braces itself for production declines and low oil prices.

The withdrawal sent Pemex’s cash holdings to a 12 year low of $3.3 billion.

Taxes and revenues collected from Pemex account for about a third of Mexico’s federal budget.

During the first 11 months of 2014 taxes paid by Pemex plummeted 22 percent over the same period in 2013, Bloomberg said.

A Pemex official told Bloomberg the government’s withdrawal indicates the country has a “near addiction to Pemex’s revenue.”

Pemex has not officially commented on the matter.

Mexico has been struggling with 10 straight years of declining output.

Pemex produced an average of 2.43 million barrels a day in 2014, a 3.6 percent drop over the previous year.

Some analysts have suggested Mexico’s rocky tax collection situation could threaten the country’s attempts to bring private investors into its oil and gas sector.

“If the price of oil remains the same and the government continues to struggle in its tax collection, I’d be concerned that politicians reconsider the timetable for the energy reform,” head of fixed-income trading at Investment Placement Group Claudio Robertson told Bloomberg.

In July, Mexico’s government approved four bills to open the oil and gas sector to private and foreign investment.

A recent report by Moody’s concluded that Mexico is well positioned to weather the global oil price slump thanks to its “comparatively limited exposure” to oil in its external accounts and conservative budget policy.


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