A plan to shake up Mexico’s flagging state-run oil sector has met with a muted reaction from the oil majors.

The foreign oil companies want Mexico to join the rest of the world in offering risk-sharing joint ventures, especially in the huge deep-sea sector. These joint ventures would enable the companies to claim that they had increased their reserves.

In contrast, the Government’s proposal, which was diluted to give it the best chance of passing through Congress, proposes more hiring of private companies across the oil industry through “incentive contracts”. This way the reserves stay under Mexican control.

“My initial impression is that it’s relatively modest,” said RoseAnne Franco at PFC Energy. “For the international oil companies it comes down to being able to book reserves.”

But for the moment, those reserves are outside their grasp.