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Pemex is reportedly seeking a way to take over an offshore oil exploration project in the Gulf of Mexico that is currently developed jointly by the Mexican major and U.S. Talos Energy.
Reuters reports, citing unnamed company insiders and two former government officials from the energy sphere, that Pemex’s plan to take over the Zama field is part of the new government’s drive to return more control of the country’s energy industry into the hands of the state company.
Talos Energy was among the first foreign companies awarded exploration licenses in Mexico by the previous government, which launched a more or less comprehensive reform in the energy sector of the country. Of all the private foreign players the Pena-Nieto administration invited into Mexico’s oil and gas, Talos was the first to strike oil, in the Zama field.
What’s more, just last month the company received a two-year extension of its exploration license for Block 7, where the Zama discovery was made earlier this year. According to a press release on the news, the consortium operating the field, had already identified a couple of new drilling locations, each of which could hold gross unrisked resources of 75-150 million barrels of oil equivalent.
The Zama field contains an estimated 1.4-2 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Talos is the operator, with a stake of 35 percent. Its partners in the project are Sierra Oil and Gas, and Premier Oil.
Pemex, for its part, holds the exploration license for an adjacent block and since the Zama field may well extend into Pemex’s block, according to the Reuters sources, the Mexican state energy company has a potential claim over Zama.
If the company makes such a claim, it would be in line with government policy but, as one oil industry executive told Reuters, “If Pemex does end up operating it [Zama], that would not send a good signal to private investors.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.