Mexico's Pemex Seeks Partners for Shallow Water Fields

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MEXICO CITY—Mexican state oil company Petró leos Mexicanos said Tuesday that it will seek private partners to develop two shallow water oil fields in its second planned exploration and production joint-venture under the country's new energy laws.

The Ayin and Batsil fields in the southern Gulf of Mexico contain estimated reserves of 281 million barrels of crude- oil equivalent, including 46 million barrels in proven reserves, 77 million in probable reserves and 158 million in possible reserves, Pemex said in a news release.

The fields are among the reserves that were assigned to Pemex before the government began tendering exploration and production blocks to foreign and private companies under the opening of the national oil industry in 2013. Several dozen offshore and onshore blocks were awarded in three auctions last year.

The company is looking to private partners to help restore output when low oil prices have restricted its investment capacity and forced it to cut its budgets. Its crude production has fallen steadily for more than a decade from a peak of around 3.4 million barrels a day in 2004.

The tender for partners in Ayin and Batsil could be included in the government auction of 15 shallow-water blocks planned for March, Pemex said.

A partner to jointly develop with Pemex the Trion deep-water field in the northern Gulf of Mexico is scheduled to be decided on Dec. 5, at the same time that the government auctions 10 deep-water blocks.

The National Hydrocarbons Commission, which regulates the sector and conducts the auctions, last week approved changes in the bidding rules for Trion, allowing a single operator to join with Pemex with up to 60% of the project. Initially, groups bidding on the contract were required to include at least two operators.

Members of the hydrocarbons commission said the change, introduced by Pemex, aims to attract more bids, although several questioned the timing so far into the process. Pemex said in a statement that it should bring about greater participation by those interested in Trion.

Trion is estimated to have proven, probable and possible reserves of 480 million barrels of oil equivalent. The block covers an area of 1,250 square kilometers south of the U.S.-Mexican maritime border, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the Mexican coast.

Write to Anthony Harrup at

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