MEXICO CITY – Royal Dutch Shell won on Wednesday development rights to nine of the 29 deepwater oil and natural gas blocks Mexico’s government put on offer in a Wednesday auction.
Nearly 20 companies participated – either individually or as part of a consortium – in the bidding round, which was focused on highly coveted deepwater areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
The blocks made available were located in the Perdido Fold Belt, Cordillas Mexicanas and the Salina Basin; 19 of them were awarded and 10 of received no bids.
Shell was awarded four blocks individually, including Block 21 in the Salina Basin, a hotly contested area that is located off the coasts of the southeastern Mexican states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
The oil supermajor also won four blocks as part of a consortium with Qatar Petroleum International Limited (Qatar) and one other block in partnership with Mexican state oil company Pemex.
Pemex, meanwhile, won two blocks individually, both of them in the Perdido Fold Belt (off the coast of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, as well as a block as part of a consortium with Chevron and Inpex E&P (Japan) in the Salina Basin.
Malaysia’s PC Carigali, for its part, was awarded six blocks in Wednesday’s auction, which stems from the 2013 energy-sector overhaul that ended Pemex’s decades-old exploration and production monopoly: two individually and four as part of a consortium.
Spain’s Repsol (in consortium with PC Carigali, Mexican firm Sierra Nevada and Thailand’s PTTEP) won Block 29, the one that attracted the most bids, and two other areas.
Based on discoveries already made and established geological models, the blocks in the Perdido Fold Belt are expected to contain light crude, super-light crude, wet gas and dry gas.
In the Cordilleras Mexicanas region, the blocks are expected to yield light crude, wet gas and dry gas, while the Salina Basin is projected to contain light crude, super-light crude, heavy crude and wet gas.
License contracts ranging from 35 to 50 years were on offer in the bidding round.