Patagonia Prospector Surges as Mexico Opens Energy Doors

GeoPark Ltd. rose the most in a month as most other oil and natural gas stocks fell on prospects the Santiago-based company can expand into Mexico.

The company that drills gas fields in southern Chile’s Patagonia region rose as much as 4.9 percent in New York today. The stock was up 2.4 percent to $10.25 at 1:17 p.m, the best performance among 15 global peers tracked by Bloomberg.

GeoPark has been encouraged to work with state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos on lower-priority oil and gas properties as the country opens up its oil industry to foreign investment, Chief Executive Officer James Park said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday. The company is working on oil and gas properties in Brazil, which Mexico seeks to emulate after passing a law to open up its energy industry to private investment for the first time since 1938.

“Given the company’s track record, GeoPark could be positive for the energy market in Mexico,” Santiago Wesenack, a Buenos Aires-based analyst with Raymond James, said. “The company has a wide range of experience including heavy oil and gas.”

Mexican lawmakers gave final approval yesterday to rules for awarding private oil contracts in the country. The Senate passed the final measure with a vote of 78 in favor and 26 against to implement the constitutional overhaul approved in December ending Pemex’s exclusive right to crude production, now in its 76th year.

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