Mexico: Shallow Water for Second Round

Mexico invites private partners into shallow waters for second round of opportunities.
This article appeared in Vol. 13, No. 4 - 2016


There was considerable excitement in the hydrocarbon industry when, in August 2014, the Mexican Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos (CNH) announced its first ever licensing round for foreign investors. For 75 years state-owned Pemex had held a monopoly on oil exploration and production in the country, and the company had been allocated over 80% of Mexico’s proven and probable reserves before the licensing rounds opened. However, Pemex is now allowed to take on private partners, and is actively seeking investors for the deepwater Trion field near the US border.

The first phase of Round 1 turned out to be not quite as hotly fought over as expected, with initially only two of the 14 blocks on offer being awarded. However, the Mexican government appear to have learnt a lot from feedback from this process and have eased the bidding terms and conditions, resulting in the successful award of a large number of blocks in the later phases of the round.

Round 2, Phase 1, which was launched in July this year, concentrates on the shallow offshore. In this phase, 15 shallow water blocks are on offer, covering an area of 8,908 km² off the coast of Veracruz, Tabasco and Campeche and thought to potentially hold over 500 MMboe. The government is offering 30-year production sharing contracts which could be extended for up to an additional 10 years if the fields are producing, with an initial exploration period of four to six years. The second phase of Round 2 will concentrate on conventional onshore oilfields and both phases close in March next year.

  • Offshore Mexico license blocks made available in Rounds 1 and 2. (Source: Earthmoves Ltd.)


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