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Mexico Begins Oil Contract Review

Mexico’s elected government has stayed true to President-elect’s campaign promise to review all oil contracts sealed by the previous administration and has started the review process for a contract with a consortium led by U.S. Talos Energy, Reuters reports.

Talos Energy holds 45 percent in the venture, which also involves Premier Oil with 10 percent and Mexican independent Sierra Oil & Gas, with 45 percent. The chief executive of the Mexican company welcomed the review.

“They should check everything,” Ivan Sandrea told Reuters. “Along with the entire industry, I’m most interested that they clear up all of their thoughts that there was manipulation.”

The consortium was among the winners of exploration rights to Mexican oil and gas blocks in the first tender of Enrique Pena Nieto’s government. It won the rights to two blocks and later announced a discovery that could hold 1.2 to 1.8 billion barrels of crude in Mexico’s shallow waters.

President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office in December, has been critical of Pena Nieto’s energy reform and has vowed to review the contracts that foreign firms have already signed with Mexico.

Last month, Reuters reported that it had seen a draft of Obrador’s new energy policy guidelines, which featured an indefinite suspension of new oil tenders and a proposal to give state-held oil firm Pemex the power to pick its own partners for joint ventures without holding tenders, boosting ties and cooperation with OPEC, and leaving the International Energy Agency (IEA), which represents the interests of oil-consuming countries.

Yet later, Obrador clarified that the tenders would be suspended only until the contracts signed over the last three years are reviewed. There are more than 100 of them.

Mexico’s current oil production stands at about 1.84 million bpd, of which 60 percent is exported. Production has been falling steadily and the tenders organized by the previous government were instrumental in reversing the decline.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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