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Two Mexican oil companies have signed the first oilfield operation deal without the participation of state energy major Pemex, Bloomberg reports. The companies are Mexico’s first listed oil producer, Vista Oil & Gas, and Jaguar Exploracion y Produccion, which agreed to sell Vista its 50-percent stake in three offshore fields for US$37.5 million.
Jaguar will remain the operator of one of the blocks while Vista will take over the operation of the other two, which Jaguar won the rights to last year in one of the tenders that Mexico’s government has been holding frequently in a bid to reverse a decline in oil production.
The seller, which is a unit of local Grupo Topaz, plans to continue bidding for oil and gas rights as long as there are tenders, which is uncertain in light of the fact that the frontrunner for the July presidential elections is leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. It will, however, not miss the chance to take part in the September tender already scheduled by the National Hydrocarbons Commission.
Vista is also considering participating in the September tender, with its chief executive Miguel Galuccio confident that the new government will not put an end to the tenders. “If you ask me, pragmatism will come first,” he told Bloomberg. “There are always alternatives.”
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The last tender, in January, saw 19 out of 29 blocks find a suitor, which the NHC considered a major success, estimating the development of the blocks could bring in US$93 billion in investments.
Mexico has two more oil and gas auctions lined up for this year—one in June and one towards the end of the year—but the chances of all blocks finding suitors are mixed in light of the abovementioned political worries after Obrador said he will review and very likely revise the contracts that Pena Nieto’s government signs with foreign oil companies. Recently, however, Obrador’s rhetoric has softened, observers note, suggesting that Shell is wise in expanding its presence in the Mexican sector of the Gulf.
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.