MEXICO CITY – Twenty-one oil and gas operating companies have registered to submit proposals for Mexico’s Phase 4 Round 1 deepwater auction, expected to be held in December.
Several large international oil companies are among those registered, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., as well as Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Statoil, and Total, according to online reports.
The companies have applied to bid for 10 deepwater exploration blocks – six in the Salina basin of the Gulf of Mexico and four in the Perdido belt – covering a total of 8,250 sq km (3,185 sq mi) and at depths ranging from 500 to 3,000 m (1,640 to 9,842 ft).
The areas being bid out for exploration in Phase Four of Licensing Round 1 are estimated to contain 4 Bboe in reserves – 22% more than in the auction’s earlier stages.
Technical aspects for qualification requires the parties to have specified knowledge and experience in working in at least one deepwater exploration and production project at a depth of 1,000 m (3,280 ft) in the preceding five years, which entails collective capital investments of a minimum $2 billion. According to the bid criteria, contracts will have terms between 35 to 50 years.
There has been some speculation as to whether Phase 4 of Round 1 would meet the original timeline due to the downturn in the market.
Speaking at a conference in Houston earlier this year, Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that the auction for the deepwater blocks would be held at the beginning of December 2016.
Commenting on the impact of the low oil price, President Peña Nieto stated that “regardless of what happens in the international context, Mexico will move forward with the energy reform implementation.”
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