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Billionaire Carlos Slim Buys Stake In Huge Mexican Oilfield

Talos Energy is selling 49.9% of its Mexican subsidiary to a unit of Grupo Carso, owned by billionaire Carlos Slim, with which the buyer gets access to the huge Zama oilfield offshore Mexico.

Talos Energy on Thursday announced that Zamajal, a wholly owned subsidiary of Grupo Carso, has agreed to acquire a 49.9% interest in Talos’ Mexican subsidiary, Talos Mexico, which holds the company’s 17.4% stake in the Zama offshore oil project.

Talos will remain the controlling shareholder of Talos Mexico, while the transaction is expected to close within the third quarter of 2023, subject to approval by Mexico’s Federal Economic Competition Commission COFECE.

The purchase price for the 49.9% stake in Talos Mexico is $124.75 million, implying a minimum valuation of around $250 million for the full 17.4% stake in Zama.

Carlos Slim and family are currently number 10 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people. 

The investment from Slim’s conglomerate in Talos and the Zama oilfield comes as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is enacting reforms and business moves seen as unfriendly for private companies.

Talos Energy, leading a consortium of foreign oil companies, discovered the large Zama oil deposit in 2017. At an estimated 670 million recoverable barrels of oil, the discovery was the largest oil find in Mexico by a private company in decades.  

Mexico’s state oil firm Pemex, however, has said that the Zama deposit extends to a neighboring block operated by the state company. Mexico, whose president Lopez Obrador seeks a greater role for Pemex in domestic oil production, appointed last year Pemex as operator of the Zama oilfield. A so-called Unitization Resolution of the Zama field provides for joint development of the entire reservoir instead of each party developing its own block.

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Earlier this year, Pemex and its partners in the Zama discovery submitted the development plan for the project that could see its oil production reach levels greater than 10% of Mexico’s current output. 

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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