MEXICO CITY – Mexico signed on Monday 10 contracts allocating tracts within which to explore and extract hydrocarbons in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico after the first phase of bidding in Round Two of oil auctions.
The bids are part of the energy reform being pushed by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, which opened the petroleum sector to private initiative after almost eight decades of state control.
With an eye toward shared production of hydrocarbons, Mexico put up for bid four blocks located in the Tampico-Misantla oil district, one in Veracruz and 10 in the Cuencas del Sureste.
Participating in the ceremony to present the proposals, held in Mexico City, were 20 firms, five of which were on hand as individual entities and 15 of which were bonded together in consortia.
Pemex Exploracion y Produccion, the state-run oil company, won two of the contracts in consortia with international firms.
The first of the contracts was for Block 2 in Tampico-Misantla, comprising 549 square kilometers (211 square miles), a joint venture between Germany’s DEA Deutsche Erdoel and Pemex Exploracion y Produccion.
In addition, the state-run firm was named, in a consortium with Colombia’s Ecopetrol Global Energy, the winner of bidding in Block 8, in the Salina del Istmo zone.
The most highly sought-after block, for which six proposals were presented, was Block 9, comprising 562 square kilometers in Salina del Istmo, where assorted hydrocarbons, including light crude oil, are expected to be found and exploited.
In that tract, the winning bid was submitted by the Capricorn Energy/Citla Energy E&P consortium – a British/Mexican venture.
Italy’s ENI Mexico, which was awarded a contract in Round One, was one of the most outstanding beneficiaries in this first phase of Round Two.
Together with other partners, the Italian firm won the rights to exploit two blocks in Salina del Istmo and garnered yet another contract individually in the same zone.
ENI Mexico and Russia’s Lukoil International Upstream Holding – which obtained Block 12 – became the only firms to receive exploitation rights outside of a consortium.
Meanwhile, four of the zones offered in this session – three of them in Tampico-Misantla and one in Veracruz – as well as another located in the Cuencas del Sureste were not awarded, given that no firms presented proposals to exploit them.
Round Two will include two other bidding sessions to be held in the very near future.