Mexico is the eleventh largest producer of oil in the world and the thirteenth largest in exportation of oil. It has the seventeenth largest oil reserves and is the fourth largest producer in the Western Hemisphere. In 1938, Petroleos Mexicanos was founded, otherwise known as Pemex, when the Mexican government nationalized all oil resources and facilities. This expropriation didn’t make the US happy and it put financial pressure on Mexico through boycotts.
The US put the pressure on again when Pena Nieto was elected. Bowing to demands, the president changed the 27 and 28 amendments of the Mexico constitution thereby allowing private and foreign investors to conduct exploration and extraction operations within Mexico once again. As of April 2016, private companies were allowed to open gas stations in Mexico, invading the previous monopoly held by Pemex, with the condition that the fuel would be directly purchased from Pemex. Full liberalization is scheduled for 2018 making it clear that Pena Nieto’s intentions are to privatize Mexico’s oil reserves completely.
Although some are touting this as a landmark advancement for Mexico, it just may be what leads to a full-scale oil shortage. In fact, it’s not unheard of for the Mexican government to manufacture oil and gas shortages in order to control a volatile area.
So what would happen in the event of an oil shortage? The impacts go beyond just fuel for our vehicles.
Some suggest that we will quickly become cannibals because we would be unable to obtain food. See, natural gas is used to make nitrogen fertilizers which are used in large-scale farming operations. Tractors and harvesters need oil based products to plant and collect the food. As all those chemically grown crops are not consumed where they are grown, oil is necessary to transport the food to the supermarket. And of course, you need an oil dependant vehicle to get from your house to the supermarket. So cannibalism would be the natural result because EVERYONE has forgotten how to grow their own organic food! We, in La Yacata, have not forgotten. (See Obligatory Organic, Sharecropping, Las tres hermanas, Container Gardening)
An oil shortage would also impact electricity, heating and cooling systems, gas powered vehicles and oil-based products, such as paint, plastic, medicine, toys and more, would become scarce. The interruption in these services and scarcity of these products would cause the total breakdown of society, or so some foretell.
La Yacata has no electricity, so no problem there. (See La Yacata still has no electricity, Chim-chimney, All sizzle and no spark). We currently use a gas stove, but we could switch to leña (wood) or cow patties for cooking without much fuss. We use our fireplace to heat our home on the rare occasions that it is needed. Walking, horseback riding or bicycling could easily replace our motos (motorcycles). In our case, I can’t see that we would be so dreadfully affected that we would succumb to despair and riot in La Yacata.
On the flip side, some predict that running out of oil would be a good thing in the long run. We would have cleaner air, less contamination from plastics, no more fracking pollution, and a large-scale move to renewable energy sources and organic, local farming.
How ya like them apples? Sure sounds good to me!