Former Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya. Image courtesy of Pemex/Flickr.

Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto fired Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya on Monday as part of an effort to overhaul the state-owned oil company.

According to Reuters, Lozoya will be replaced by Jose Antonio Gonzalez, who has served as the director of Mexico’s Social Security Institute since 2012.

Gonzalez is planning to trim costs at the company as part of a broader effort to cut government spending that is being spearheaded by finance secretary Luis Videgaray, the Agencia EFE said.

Gonzalez said that he plans to meet with union representatives to discuss possible cost cuts and added that a cost cutting plan may “not necessarily” have to include job cuts.

According to Forbes, Pemex has seen its oil production dip 12 percent from 2012 to 2015 while its net debt skyrocketed from $6.1 billion to $15 billion during the same period.

Pemex booked a $20.75 billion net loss for the first nine months of 2015, a 138 percent jump over the same period in 2014, EFE said.

The company has also dealt with a string of deadly accidents at its production and refinery facilities over the last year.

Earlier this week, three workers were killed and at least seven others were injured after a blaze broke out on the Abkatun A Permanente processing platform in the Bay of Campeche, less than a year after seven people died during a fire at the same platform.

Two workers died when a platform leg collapsed during maintenance work at the company’s shallow water Abkatun-Pol-Chuc oil field in the Bay of Campeche last May, just about six months after a fire at the Pemex operated Lazaro Cardenas refinery in Minatitlan killed five workers.

Pemex is also contending with new private and international competition after Mexico’s government agreed in August to open up the country’s energy sector to private investment, ending the company’s 75 year monopoly.

However, the country’s first ever oil and gas block auction for private and foreign investors was met with little enthusiasm in July, with only two of the 14 blocks on offer being picked up.

The government is hoping that tweaks to its tender contracts help attract more interest in its blocks.


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