MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's state-owned oil company says it will form a new entity to explore and produce shale gas and deep-water oil in U.S. territory.

The plan will help Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex, acquire drilling techniques it now lacks for complicated terrain in Mexico, chief executive Emilio Lozoya said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Pemex confirmed the plan Monday.

"The geology is similar and we can benefit from numerous areas of collaboration with international oil companies," Lozoya said.

Pemex has so far been unable to exploit its shale and deep-water reserves, and the Mexican constitution limits its ability to hire outside expertise in Mexico. The government has proposed allowing Pemex to enter profit-sharing contracts with private companies and let outside companies refine and transport oil inside the country.

That would require politically controversial changes to the constitution, which states that Mexico's oil belongs to the state.

Mexico's largest leftist party is leading opposition to opening up Pemex to more private investment as a way to reverse its declining production.

On Monday, the Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD, presented its own plan to fix the ailing, outdated oil company without constitutional changes or a greater role for private companies.

Instead, the PRD is proposing to loosen the government's stranglehold over revenues from Pemex, where 70 percent of profits go to fund the federal budget.

Party founder and former presidential candidate Cuauhtemoc Cardenas also said Pemex should be made more indepedent by removing Cabinet secretaries and the oil workers union from the Pemex board seats they now hold.

Cardenas is the son of the late President Lazaro Cardenas, who nationalized the oil industry in 1938.

Mexico's oil production has dropped by about one-quarter over the last decade.

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  • Mexico creates jobs

    Our southern neighbor buys more of our products than any country other than Canada. Some 6 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Mexico, <a href="http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/working-together-economic-ties-between-the-united-states-and-mexico" target="_blank">according to the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute</a>.

  • Mexico's economy is growing

    Despite the common conception in the United States that Mexico is a poor country, <a href="http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/12/03/as-the-mexican-economy-takes-off-new-president-enrique-pena-nieto-has-a-shot-at-redemption/" target="_blank">Mexico's economy is growing faster than its northern neighbor's</a> -- 3.9 percent compared to 1.7 percent in 2011, according to the UK Independent.

  • Mexico has more professional elections than the United States

    According to Robert A. Pastor, a professor and co-director of the Center for Democracy and Election Management at American University who has observed Mexican elections since 1986, the Mexican system is more professional, non-partisan and independent than the American one.

  • Mexico gave us chocolate

    Along with corn, avocados, chili peppers, tequila and many other awesome foods.

  • Mexico has amazing cultural diversity

    While Mexico may be the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, that's not the only language spoken in the country. More than <a href="http://www.history.com/topics/mexico/page4" target="_blank">60 indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico</a>.

  • It's the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world

    With a population of 112 million, Mexico is the country with the most Spanish speakers in the world.

  • Mexico City is massive

    If size impresses you, you’ll probably admire Mexico City. <a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2097720_2097772_2097769,00.html" target="_blank">With around 20.5 million inhabitants</a>, it sits among the world’s largest cities. And it’s massiveness has a long history -- when the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century in Tenochtitlán, the heart of the Aztec empire where Mexico City currently stands, it may <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=BIQLMYyfHncC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=tenochtitlan+larger+than+london&source=bl&ots=tdYDzvdqFE&sig=yNHV_7jhHxdEFlvfb4zzDRFBIzo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=AZinUeD6CeLL0AHSjICADw&ved=0CEgQ6AEwBDgK#v=onepage&q=tenochtitlan%20larger%20than%20london&f=false" target="_blank">have been the largest urban area in the world</a>.

  • Mexico has awesome tourism

    Beaches? Ancient ruins? Mountains? Cultural diversity? Awesome food? Mexico's got it all.

  • It's not as violent as you may think

    As we’ve pointed out before, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/13-places-more-violence-mexico_n_2201941.html" target="_blank">Mexico's murder rate isn't particularly high by Latin American standards</a>. Mexico had a murder rate of 23.7 per 100,000 residents in 2011, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. That's about equal to Brazil's and roughly half as high as Detroit. Plenty of places in the region have higher murder rates -- including Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.

  • Mexico has a thriving film industry

    Many Americans are already familiar with crossover successes like Gael García Bernal, Salma Hayek and director Guillermo del Toro. But those stars account for just a <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-radio-and-tv-17112066" target="_blank">small fraction of a booming industry</a>.

  • Home to some of the oldest civilizations of the Americas

    Mexico's first major civilization, the Olmecs, <a href="http://www.history.com/topics/mexico" target="_blank">established themselves by around 1200 BC</a>.