Mexico’s state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) plans to invest USD 14.7 billion in 2002 out of a total budget of USD 23.9 billion, the company’s director has said. Raul Munoz Leos said the amount approved by Congress for the current budget represents Pemex’s biggest year-on-year investment increase in two decades. Pemex’s average annual investment between 1996 and 2000 was USD 7.24 billion. The lion’s share of this year’s investment will be for exploration and production projects, mostly in the offshore Cantarell oilfield, which is Mexico’s largest, in the Burgos gas basin of NE Mexico, and in the Grijalva River Delta, in SE Mexico. Included in the planned projects are multiple-service contracts for natural gas production. The contracts, which could be for up to 20 years, have drawn criticism from senators who have demanded to see draft versions before any are awarded.