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Crude Summit: Mexico oil sector gets broad interest

17 Jan 2017 22:46 GMT
Crude Summit: Mexico oil sector gets broad interest

Houston, 17 January (Argus) — Forty-nine companies from 14 countries are now managing some of Mexico's oil and natural gas operations, as the nation's historic energy reform moves forward, an official with Mexico's Comision Nacional de Hidrocarburos (CNH) said today.

"We are getting the experience of oil production from 14 different nations," said commissioner Hector Moreira, at the Argus Americas Crude Summit in Houston.

The companies include Mexican firms in addition to state-owned Pemex. Some are participating in partnerships.

Mexico's first licensing round ended in December with the award of eight out of 10 deepwater blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, and the allocation of state-owned Pemex's first project farm-out, Trion, to the private sector.

The upstream awards are starting to yield a small independent production stream in addition to output from Pemex, whose monopoly was dismantled under the 2014 package of energy reforms.

Mexico tendered a total of 55 areas for exploration and 39 areas were awarded, Moreira said. The country now has 43,000 square km dedicated to private production, he said.

CNH earlier this month deferred a tender for 15 shallow-water blocks by three months, in the hope of attracting more participants.

When asked how much crude production could come out of these two rounds, Moreira said potentially around 400,000 b/d, but qualified his estimate as only a "wild guess."

The second auction, initially scheduled for 22 March, is now due to take place on 19 June. The deadline to request access to geological data has been extended from 11 January to 21 March, while the pre-qualification process will now end on 12 May, instead of 7 March.

The blocks on offer are located along the coast of Veracruz, Tabasco and Campeche states, in the oil producing Tampico-Misantla and Southeastern basin regions of the Gulf of Mexico.

As of 23 December, 22 companies had shown interest in the tender, nine of which had begun the pre-qualification process. These include BP, Shell, Chevron, US independent ConocoPhillips, Norway's Statoil, Germany's Dea, the UK's Premier Oil and local firms Sierra and Citla.

Also as part of Mexico's opening of its energy sector, Pemex is offering up to 15pc of its gasoline and diesel storage capacity, equivalent to 161,600 bl. This infrastructure is located in the northwestern state of Baja California and neighboring state of Sonora.

The open season started last week and is scheduled to be awarded on 15 February.