Mexico’s oil industry regulator CNH (Comisio Nacional de Hidrocarburos) on Monday revealed the companies and consortiums that are pre-qualified to take part in December’s much-anticipated auctions for deep-water oil and gas drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.
There are 17 firms pre-qualified, some which will bid individually, others that will do so in partnership for the right to then be joint venture partners with the state oil firm Pemex.
The December 5 auctions will comprise one for the resource-rich Trion field in the Perdido Fold Belt near the maritime border with the US and a second one for 10 other deep-water fields.
Among the pre-qualified companies, either bidding solo or in consortiums, are: BHP Billiton, BP, CNOOC, ExxonMobil, PC Carigall, Statoil, Total, Shell, Chevron, Atlantic Rim, Eni, Inpex, Lukoil, Murphy, Ophir and Sierra, along with Pemex.
Mexico has been opening up its energy sector since passing a reform package in 2013. The main effect of the reforms is to loosen Pemex’s monopoly grip on the industry in the hope that outside firms improve oil production, which has been flagging for years.
Early rounds of auctions did not enjoy great response but the Trion field is exciting great interest because it is expected to be very prolific. It is estimated to contain around $480m barrels of oil equivalent worth about $11bn.