Mexico on Monday auctioned eight out of ten deep water oil and gas blocks up for grabs in the Gulf of Mexico, and scored a joint venture for a major crude field in the most hotly-anticipated round of the country’s energy opening so far.
China’s Offshore Oil Corporation took two of the eight blocks, while Australia’s BHP Billiton outbid Britain’s BP in a bid to partner with Mexican state oil firm Pemex in the promising Trion light oil field in the Gulf of Mexico.
France’s Total also made three winning bids, teaming up with U.S. major ExxonMobil in the Perdido Fold Belt close to the U.S.-Mexico maritime border for one and with Norway’s Statoil and BP for two blocks in the Salina Basin further south.
U.S. oil major Chevron, Pemex and Japan’s Inpex combined to win a block while Malaysia’s Petronas Carigali and private equity backed start-up Sierra Offshore Exploration also featured in two winning consortia, one fronted by U.S. independent Murphy and Britain’s Ophir.
“This underlines Mexico is very competitive in the oil and gas sector,” said Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell.
Mexico is a major oil exporter, though a great deal of their potential has not been realised due to the 75-year monopoly the state has had on oil and gas. The current energy reforms, where not only the market for oil and gas – but also for electricity – has been opened up to new players, have already increased oil production, though there are many more opportunities in this market.