By MARK LORENZANA
Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) directly awarded a contract to a private firm to rent out 41,000 computers and other 16,000 pieces of peripheral hardware to Mexico’s state-owned oil company for the next four years.
The company, Tec Pluss, distributor of Dell Computers in Mexico, won on Sept. 9 the open contract for up to 2.99 billion pesos, value-added tax (VAT) included, which will be in force until 2026, and which involves supplying personal computers, laptops, advanced workstations, video projectors and port replicators to Pemex and its subsidiaries — including to offshore platforms and oil rigs.
According to a report by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma on Tuesday, Oct. 4, the only item that was not awarded in the Pemex contract to Tec Pluss was for the technology company to provide up to 51,710 Chromebooks, Google’s own brand of laptops, as no bids were received.
Pemex does not publish the details of its direct awards, but only disseminates the ruling after the fact, so it is unknown whether other companies other than Tec Pluss were listed for the contract.
On March 22, Pemex had declared the tender for its tech needs void, on the grounds that, allegedly, no offer was technically solvent.
Tec Pluss was one of the 21 companies that was interested in that tender, but it was not one of the five that originally submitted offers.
Due to the alleged technical insolvency of the equipment-leasing providers’ proposals, according to Pemex, the reverse auction was no longer carried out, wherein companies would offer discounts on reference prices set by Pemex.
A reverse auction (also known as a buyer-determined auction or a procurement auction) is a type of auction in which the traditional roles of buyer and seller are reversed. Thus, there is one buyer — in this case, Pemex — and many potential sellers, which were the potential tech companies offering their services.
The other tech-equipment leasing providers noted difficulties in obtaining such a large number of equipment in the terms required by Pemex, given the worldwide shortage of microchips.
Other relevant direct awards from Pemex in the last year include a contract for 37.3 million pesos to two of its private subsidiaries for the leasing of motor transport, another contract amounting to $546 million with the Texas firm Drillmec for drilling equipment, and 216 million pesos with Rin Automotriz to rent 129 ambulances for four years, among others.
Since it became a state-run company after the 2014 Energy Reform of former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Pemex has not been subject to Mexico’s Public Sector Procurement Law, but to its own regulations, and has enjoyed more flexibility to avoid tenders and to do away with bidding procedures.