Mexico’s upcoming deepwater oil auctions attracting great interest

Offshore staff

MEXICO CITY – Chevron Corp. has joined forces with Petroleos Mexicanos and Japan’s Inpex Corp. to bid next week for the right to explore for oil and natural gas, the first time the state-owned operator will partner with private companies to develop crude in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to a Bloomberg report, seven groups and eight individual bidders have been qualified to participate in the Dec. 5 auctions that include the Trion field joint venture with PEMEX and ten other deepwater blocks.

Total SA joined forces with BP Plc and Norway’s Statoil in one group, with Exxon Mobil Corp. in another. Eni SpA and Lukoil also joined up, and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc formed another group.

“We are attracting investment and technology in deep waters, where a large part of our national reserves are located,” said Hector Moreira, Commissioner at Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission, as quoted in the Bloomberg report. “We have attracted some of the largest companies in the world that have the technology and investment capacities to develop those resources.”

Over the past year, the Mexican government has made a series of adjustments to sweeten the terms of the Joint Operating Agreement that PEMEX will sign with potential partners to develop the Trion field.

Mexico’s Sierra Oil & Gas, which has backing from private equity firms Riverstone Holdings and BlackRock Inc, and Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), has joined forces in one group, as well as another that includes Murphy Oil Corp. and Ophir Energy Plc. BHP Billiton Ltd and China’s CNOOC Ltd will participate individually.

“Many of the companies that are participating in this bidding have been in Mexico with a permanent office in Mexico for decades waiting for this moment,” said Juan Carlos Zepeda, National Hydrocarbons Commissioner, as quoted in the report. “We have very serious players and there is great expectation.”



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