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HomeceraweekWeak oil is an opportunity for us: Pemex CEO

Weak oil is an opportunity for us: Pemex CEO

Oil prices will likely remain low for the foreseeable future — but that could be an opportunity for one of Latin America's biggest energy companies, the CEO told CNBC.

Mexico just launched a new legal framework with more flexibility for oil companies, which is a good thing for the country's state-owned petroleum company, according to Pemex CEO Jose Antonio Gonzalez.

"Our main task in Mexico is to adjust to this new reality," Gonzalez told CNBC's "Power Lunch" Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.Saudi oil minister Naimi: Oil production cuts won't happenAt CERAWeek, OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri told CNBC that oil producers are still "feeling the water" over a possible deal to freeze production.No signs OPEC production cut is close at hand

Weak oil prices have prompted deep budget cuts at the Mexican state-owned petroleum company over the past year, amid increased competition after the country opened the energy market in 2013. A new round of budget cuts is slated for next week, in a plan that assumes oil prices of $25 per barrel, down from $50 from last year, Gonzalez said.

Just two weeks into his new role as CEO, Gonzalez is tasked with turning around one of the world's largest companies that has ailed under debt and political obligations. Though Mexican economy has moved away from being dependent on oil in recent years, Pemex still represents an important part of the government's revenue, Gonzalez said.

"We have to work very closely together with the Finance ministries to make sure these transitions are well-planned out, well-executed and well-communicated," Gonzalez said. "That's part of the things I've been doing in these past two weeks."

Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, newly appointed CEO of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).Justin Solomon | CNBC

Gonzalez spoke from global energy conference CERAWeek in Houston, an annual gathering of high-profile industry leaders in the commodities market. Crude oil has recently languished between $26 and $35 per barrel in volatile trading as oil-exporting nations have tried to negotiate potential production cuts.

Pemex plans to keep its production levels fairly constant by boosting one of its biggest fields, which has seen levels decline, Gonzalez said. As a price taker, Gonzalez doesn't see Mexico as a driving force in the price of oil, he said.

What are oil prices doing? Check here.

"If the price of oil goes up, we would be very happy," Gonzalez said, commenting on the outcome of rumored OPEC cuts.

Despite the down cycle, there's a "tremendous" amount of interest surrounding oil exploration in Mexico, thanks in part to new regulations, Gonzalez said, and Pemex is on the lookout for partnerships.

"We're optimistic that the energy reform is structural and it will work out in the future," he said.

— CNBC's "Power Lunch" producers contributed to this report.

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