Mexican national oil company Pemex has announced it has begun signing contracts with oilfield service firms “specifically invited to submit bids for a new batch of priority exploration and production projects”, 

The state-owned company’s chief executive, EO Octavio Romero, said the closed bidding process offers Pemex cost savings: “We invite the companies, who form consortia to carry out these comprehensive projects, from construction of the facilities, the drilling of wells, laying both marine and onshore pipelines… and the consortium that offers the best price wins.”

Romero added he expects all the related contracting for this year’s projects to be finalised by the middle of 2020.

He has previously said Pemex aims to discover and develop 20 new oil and gas fields each year, which industry analysts have described as “extremely optimistic”.

Mexican oil regulator CNH said only three of the 20 priority projects selected last year reported crude production as of December 2019. 

Elsewhere in Mexico, last year marked the first full year of the government of Lopez Obrador, a leftist nationalist who has pushed a state-centric energy model while rejecting the need for transparent oil auctions open to private producers championed by his centrist predecessor.

Romero added in brief comments to Reuters that he does not expect a quick resolution to talks between Pemex and US-based Talos Energy Inc TALO.N, over which firm will run operations for a major shared oil find in the southern Gulf.

The Zama offshore discovery was made in 2017 by a Talos-led consortium which also includes Germany’s Wintershall Dea and Britain’s Premier Oil PMO.L.

Also late last year, Talos formally notified the government that the deposit likely extends into Pemex’s neighbouring block. Both companies claim to hold the majority of the nearly 700 million-barrel find, which is another point of contention the ongoing negotiations are aimed at resolving.

“I think that’s going to still take more time,” said Romero.

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2nd March 2020