Crude Price No Obstacle as Mexico Sells All Areas Auctioned

  • All 25 Mexico onshore areas up for auction were sold
  • Mexican, Canadian, Dutch and U.S. companies among winners

The opening of Mexico’s oil industry is warming up after a slow start.

Mexico awarded all of its 25 onshore fields auctioned Tuesday, defying the six-year low in crude prices that has dogged the worldwide oil industry. Previous sales received less interest than expected, marking a disappointing beginning to the country’s efforts to bring in private companies.

“These levels of success are not being observed in any other country in the world,” Juan Carlos Zepeda, Commissioner of Mexico’s oil regulator, said at the conclusion of the auction yesterday. “We are pleasantly surprised and pleased with the demand and participation today.”

Mexico, which received only five qualifying bids in its first two offshore oil auctions this year, awarded 25 onshore exploration and production licensing contracts to Mexican, Canadian, U.S. and Dutch companies. Private Mexican oil companies, which were cleared to develop crude for the first time in more than seven decades after the fracturing of Petroleos Mexicanos’s production monopoly last year, won rights to operate or participate in 22 of the 25 contracts.

The consortium group of Geo Estratos SA and Geo Estratos Mxoil Exploracion y Produccion SAPI won four areas, while Mexico’s Strata Campos Maduros SAPI and Canada’s Renaissance Oil Corp. each won three. Four other Mexican companies each claimed two areas.

“The primary objective of this round was to plant the seed to grow the Mexican oil industry,” Lourdes Melgar, Mexico’s Deputy Energy Minister, said. “That goal was achieved.”

The Mexican government will receive an average of 63 percent of the total earnings generated by the development and production of the fields, according to Deputy Finance Minister Miguel Messmacher.

The National Hydrocarbons Commission announced Wednesday that 10 offshore fields will be auctioned for exploration and production in the upcoming bid round. Mexico will offer license contracts for deep water fields in the Perdido and Salina del Istmo areas of the Gulf of Mexico, according to Zepeda.

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