French supermajor oil company Total has got the go ahead to start drilling deep-water exploration wells in the Gulf of Mexico in October, according to Reuters.
Approval came from Mexico’s energy industry regulator the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) on Friday.
Under the four-year plan Total will drill Block 2 in the Perdido Fold Basin near the Mexico-US maritime border beginning with one or two exploration wells between October this year and next March.
The block, in which ExxonMobil is a partner with operator Total, is believed to contain as much as 1.44 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
Total’s consortium won the rights in late 2016 in Mexico’s first deep-water oil auction since the country’s energy reform initiative (which was launched in December 2013) allowed foreign companies to break into the country’s oil production sector, ending state firm Pemex’s near 80-year monopoly.