Mexico raises the bar on oil deals as Latin America vies for investment

FROM: Reuters / Marianna Parraga, Adriana Barrera / 2 de Febrero de 2018


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has raised the bar on oil contracts in Latin America after sweetening terms to attract international energy firms, luring $93 billion in future investment in the region’s first big auction this year.

On Wednesday, Mexico awarded 19 of 29 deepwater blocks onoffer, comfortably more than the seven areas expected to be assigned. Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell emerged as the biggest winner, with nine blocks.

Unique for generous terms such as setting a cap on royalties that oil firms can pledge to the government in bids, Mexico faces off this year with Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay.

They will all hold auctions for oil and gas fields in 2018 that require billions of dollars in investment from foreign firms.

Mexico is due to hold major auctions in March and July.

While Brazil’s prolific deepwater presalt oilfields are expected to attract aggressive bidding from oil majors, other regional rivals could be forced to revise the terms of their auctions if Mexico scores another win in its next auction for shallow water areas in March, analysts said.

Argentina and Ecuador have already changed their terms over the past year in preparation for their 2018 auctions. Argentina has lowered labor costs and some taxes, while Ecuador switched to production sharing from service contracts.

Oil prices have reached three-year highs near $70 per barrel in 2018, giving the world’s top energy companies a cash boost and improving the chances that they will have the funds needed for big-ticket projects in Latin American.

The industry is, however, emerging from a recession that cost tens of thousands of jobs and forced companies to slash spending on expensive projects such as those in deep waters. Oil majors have committed to keeping tight control on costs and will only bid for what they see as the most profitable projects.

Oil executives and industry specialists say the terms on offer in Mexico, as well as the potential for major finds in the country’s deep water, made it attractive on Wednesday.

At the auction, the decisive bidding parameter was the cash bonus that firms pledged. Shell won several bids with cash bonuses that drew surprised gasps from an audience mostly made up of executives from bidding firms and members of the media.

Mexico collected $525 million in cash.

While the government has limited its own take at the auction, the estimated $93 billion in investments pledged to develop the blocks auctioned is about 1.5 times greater than the amount involved in the previous eight auctions.


After the government of Mexico started auctioning oilfields in 2015, it tweaked the terms of the bidding process several times, following a historic energy reform that ended state oil firm Pemex’s 75-year monopoly over the sector.

The liberalization, the most ambitious plank of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s economic policy, started just as oil prices crashed in 2013-2014.

The government had to balance the need for a big enough take for the state to placate opponents of the reform with ensuring there was enough potential profit to attract foreign firms.

“Mexico understood how tough the competition for capital was in a very difficult oil price environment,” consultant Pablo Medina told Reuters.

After failing to award a large number of blocks in previous auctions, the government regarded the results of this week’s deepwater bidding round as a success.

As well as the limits on royalties, sweeteners included allowing foreign firms to propose areas to be included in the bidding rounds and relaxing the qualification process.

Mexico also put a stop to “additional investment pledges.” This makes it harder for small companies to win by making unrealistic promises, but further limits the mandatory investment in projects.

“What we are looking for is that the market tells us how big royalty should be and how much government take is possible to achieve,” Salvador Ugalde, head of the Mexican Finance Ministry’s Hydrocarbon Income Unit, said Wednesday.

Brazil, which plans a busy auction schedule for 2018, does not expect Mexico’s auctions will lower interest in its own offerings, said Marcio Felix, Brazil’s oil and gas secretary.

In Brazil’s last round in October, Shell and BP were the biggest winners.

“We have a set of companies that have an appetite for a certain type of asset,” Felix told Reuters on Thursday.



FROM: Reuters / Marianna Parraga, Adriana Barrera / 2 de Febrero de 2018

Mexico expects to hold a third oil and gas auction in 2018

From: / OCTOBER 19, 2017 / 2:04 PM / Mariana Parraga

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Mexico’s oil regulator will likely add another auction in 2018 featuring conventional onshore oil and gas blocks, the head of the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) said on Thursday, potentially teeing up a third tender in an election year. The bid terms will be announced later this year or in early 2018 while contracts will likely be awarded by the summer, said Juan Carlos Zepeda on the sidelines of a forum in Houston.  The onshore tender is in addition to a deepwater Gulf auction expected to attract in January some of the world’s biggest producers, as well as a March shallow water auction.
A landmark 2013 constitutional energy reform championed by President Enrique Pena Nieto paved the way for the auctions, in which private firms can bid to operate oil and gas fields on their own. Before the reform, state-owned company Pemex had a monopoly on hydrocarbons production.
Depending on the winner, Mexico’s July 2018 presidential election could alter the pace and scope of future auctions, which are organized and supervised by the CNH, while the energy ministry designs the contracts and sets the schedule.

Zepeda added that so-called non-conventional blocks to produce shale oil and gas are also being analyzed for inclusion in an additional separate auction.
The CNH has run eight oil auctions to date, awarding 72 exploration and production contracts to more than 60 companies. The contracts are seen generating almost $61 billion in investment over their lifetime.

The 64 blocks to be offered in the two upcoming offshore auctions account for more than 65 percent of Mexico’s estimated resources. Along with the January bidding round, Pemex could also find a partner for the promising Nobilis-Maximino deeepwater project close to the U.S. maritime border.

A development plan for another large deepwater project, Trion between Pemex and Australia’s BHP Billiton, has not yet been submitted to the regulator, Zepeda said, but it is expected before year end.

New regulation to establish how operators of two different blocks should produce oil from a single shared reservoir was recently finished by authorities and is now under public consultation, said Aldo Flores, Mexico’s deputy energy minister.

“The final version (of the regulation) should be ready by November,” Flores said.

The well Zama-1 containing over 1 billion barrels of oil in place discovered in July by U.S. firm Talos Energy and its partners in Mexico’s shallow water could extend into a Pemex area, Zepeda said.
“The first unitization case could be Zama, but it has not yet been officially presented (to authorities),” Zepeda said.

The reservoir unitization regulation will establish the need to nominate a single operator to produce oil in shared reservoirs even keeping two separate companies or consortia for each one of the blocks. The energy ministry will have the final word if the parties do not agree on how to develop the field.


From: / OCTOBER 19, 2017 / 2:04 PM / Mariana Parraga

Mexico’s Pemex says March crude oil exports hit record low

Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Andrew Hay

“May 5 Mexican national oil company Pemex said on Friday that March crude exports fell to a record low of just above 1 million barrels per day (bpd), while oil output for the month also dipped.

Pemex’s March crude shipments averaged 1.001 million bpd, the lowest level of monthly exports going back to at least 1990 when records began. March exports were down nearly 6 percent compared with the same month last year.

Meanwhile, crude production during the month fell 9 percent to average 2.018 million bpd.

Pemex’s oil output hit a peak of 3.38 million bpd in 2004, but since then has steadily declined.

A four-year-old energy overhaul that ended Pemex’s decades-long monopoly on production led to the first-ever competitive oil auctions and joint venture partnerships, but fresh output streams from new entrants in the market are not expected for several years.

On Wednesday, despite lower oil production, Pemex reported its first quarterly profit in five years on higher sales and rising prices, gaining some $4.7 billion during the January-March period.”

Fri May 5, 2017 | 1:33pm EDT


Pemex Likely to Return Very Small Amount of Fields to State: CEO

By Adam Williams and Lucia Kassai

“Petroleos Mexicanos plans to develop most of the 120 oilfields the government granted the state-owned company, returning “only a very low percentage,” according to the company’s chief executive officer.

The production regions were given to Pemex, as the company is known, when Mexico’s oil industry opened to private competition in 2014. Pemex had three years to invest in the fields or return them to the regulator to be auctioned in future bidding rounds.

As the three-year deadline nears, Pemex is likely to maintain the majority of these fields, Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya, the company’s CEO, said in a Bloomberg Television interview from Houston.

“We are trying to make progress to make sure we meet the regulator’s requirements, especially the ones where we know there is oil and where there is production,” he said. “I think we will develop the fields that have been assigned to us.”

Appointed as Pemex’s CEO last year, Gonzalez Anaya’s impact on the company’s ailing financial standing has been immediate. After four years of losses, Pemex yesterday reported first-quarter earnings of 87.9 billion pesos ($4.6 billion).

“The last time we posted a profit the price of oil was $100 per barrel. To post a profitable result when the price of oil is around $40 is important,” Gonzalez Anaya said. “This is no small achievement.”

Production Growth

Pemex, which has seen oil output fall every year since 2004, hopes production will stabilize this year and possibly increase as soon as 2018, he said. In addition to joint ventures planned in onshore, shallow and deep waters fields, Pemex is also looking to “cluster small allocations and small fields so that we can migrate them together,” he said.

The company is counting on a recently implemented oil price hedge — independent of the Mexican government’s hedging program — to give Pemex “some degree of certainty to our investment and to our planning,” Gonzalez Anaya said. Pemex, which hadn’t hedged independently from the government in 11 years, will likely use the tool again next year, he said.

Pemex will also seek additional hydrogen unit joint ventures at its refineries, similar to the partnership signed with Air Liquide SA in February at the Tula refinery, he said.

“This model will be replicated for other refineries, and I think things will run much better,” Gonzalez Anaya said of the additional partnerships planned for refineries.”

4 de mayo de 2017 13:04 GMT-5


Mexico Seeks New Home for Its Oil as Gulf Coast Turns to Canada

by Sheela Tobben and Amy Stillman

“Shipments of crude to the U.S. from Mexico fell to a new low last week, extending a trend that go back to when the Energy Information Administration began compiling preliminary weekly import data in June 2010.

Imports totaled 290,000 barrels a day in the week ended April 14, a 43 percent weekly drop that may have been triggered by weather-related closings at Mexico’s key export ports this month. But the shipments have been sinking for years. The 52-week average through April 14 was 561,000 barrels a day, down from about 630,000 a year earlier.

“The latest import levels are continuing a long trend,” Court Smith, director of research with shipbrokers MJLF & Associates, said by instant message from Stamford, Connecticut. “This is because of a combination of recent rise in refinery rates and historically declining production in Mexico.”

Production in Mexico has declined for 12 years in a row and this year will be less than 2 million barrels a day, the lowest level since 1980, according to Petroleos Mexicanos, the state producer, hurting sales of the benchmark Maya heavy crude.

“Pemex’s six refineries are also using more of the crude, lessening the need for exports. They processed 930,400 barrels a day in February, the most since June of last year, according to Mexico’s Energy Information Agency. The company expects to raise rates further to boost gasoline supply in the near term.

Refiners on the U.S. Gulf Coast, which are the primary users of Mexican crude, have been turning north for supplies, said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, a Houston-based consulting company. Canadian imports averaged 3.16 million barrels a day over the 52 weeks through April 14, up from about 3.02 million a year earlier.

“Canadian crudes are making more headway into the U.S judging from the full pipes coming down from Canada,” Lipow said by phone Friday. “We do expect to see more heavy crude from Canada when projects like Suncor Energy Inc.’s Fort Hills mine come online toward end of the year.”

Mexico has increasingly turned to Europe and Asia to make up for the U.S. demand shortfall. While overall Mexican crude exports fell in the first half of April, sales to Spain have increased since February, according to estimates from vessel-tracking and U.S. bills of lading data compiled by Bloomberg oil-market specialist Bert Gilbert. Exports to India, South Korea, Japan and China also grew in February, Mexico customs data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“While U.S. Gulf refineries were in maintenance, heavy crude oil producers have had to send their shipments to other regions, such as Asia, where heavy crude has recently strengthened thanks to the OPEC cut,” said Ixchel Castro, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie in Mexico City. “Greater shipments of Maya to Asia allows Pemex to achieve better margins for its exports.”

Mexico crude imports may pick up as gasoline demand rises for summer and refinery maintenance ends, Castro said in an emailed response to questions.

“This is the season where we would normally expect more heavy crude imports for U.S. Gulf Coast coking plants,” she said.

Pemex didn’t respond to requests for comment.”

21 de abril de 2017 16:05 GMT-5 updated  22 de abril de 2017 6:00 GMT-5



Exclusive: Mexico plans second deepwater oil tie-up in Maximino, Nobilis areas – sources

Reporting by Adriana Barrera, Additional reporting by Alexandra Editing by Dave Graham and and Peter Cooney

“Mexican state-run oil company Pemex plans a second deepwater “farm-out” joint venture in the Maximino and Nobilis areas in the Gulf of Mexico where super light crude has been found near the U.S. border, two people familiar with the matter said.

Speaking this week, the people said Pemex [PEMX.UL] would likely seek approval in June from the National Hydrocarbons Commission, or CNH, the industry regulator, to launch a tender for partners with the aim of announcing a winner in December.

“Maximino-Nobilis may be assigned in December and we hope the CNH will announce it in June,” said one of the sources. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are not yet public.

A Pemex spokesman said the firm was looking for a partner to develop Maximino and Nobilis, and that the proposal would be submitted for approval by the board in the next few days. The CNH would then need to decide on the time frame, he added.

The farm-outs are a central pillar of the government’s efforts to lure investment to Mexico since Congress opened up the country’s long-closed oil and gas industry to private investment in a legislative drive between 2013 and 2014.

Under the farm-outs, Pemex cannot choose which company would help it develop each project. The ultimate decision lies with the CNH following a round of competitive bids.

The process allows Pemex to share the risks and rewards of expensive deepwater oil development projects.

Australian mining and energy company BHP Billiton (BHP.AX) in December won the right to partner with Pemex in the first deepwater farm-out for the Trion light oil field, less than 50 miles (80 km) from the U.S.-Mexico maritime border.

A separate, shallow water farm-out auction for the Ayin-Batsil field is due to take place in October.

Pemex has sunk two wells in Maximino at a depth of 3,000 meters (9,840 feet), discovering super light crude.

In September 2016, Pemex said it had found super light crude in its Nobilis-1 well, also at some 3,000 meters.

Both areas lie in the Perdido fold belt, like Trion.”

Thu Apr 20, 2017 | 6:57pm EDT




Pemex Says Mitsui, SK May Bid for $2.1 Billion Tula Project

“Petroleos Mexicanos has identified Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co. and South Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction as among potential partners for a $2.1 billion project at the company’s Tula refinery which will turn lower-value fuel into products like gasoline and diesel.

Others that may participate in the joint venture to develop and operate the coker unit at Tula include PetroChina Co., China’s largest oil producer; China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec; Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Chevron Corp., according to a spokesman who couldn’t be identified because of company policy. Pemex will ask for formal bids in the next few weeks, said a person with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

The Tula plans are part of a broader effort to improve operations at Pemex, which has delayed maintenance at its six refineries because of budget cuts following 12 years of declining crude output. Tula, Pemex’s second-largest refinery, is operating at 62 percent of its 315,000-barrel-a-day capacity. The refineries together had as many as 88 unscheduled stoppages last year, and four of seven major maintenance plans were deferred to 2017 and 2018.

SK is considering participating in the project but hasn’t yet made a bid, according to a spokesman who asked not to be identified because of company policy. Beijing-based spokesmen for Sinopec and PetroChina declined to comment as did representatives for Mitsui and Chevron. A Shell spokeswoman didn’t immediately comment.

Italian oil major Eni SpA, which was also identified by Pemex as on its potential-bidders list, isn’t interested in developing or operating Pemex’s Tula coker unit, according to a company spokeswoman who asked not to be identified citing company policy.

Carlos Murrieta, director of industrial transformation at Pemex, said in November that the company was in talks with at least three consortium groups “very interested” in overseeing the execution, operation and completion of that unit. Murrieta said at the time the contracts would likely not take the form of sales-and-leaseback agreements.

Pemex hired Bank of America Corp. last year to explore strategic options for the Tula unit and to help it find partners for its refineries. The state-run energy company will prioritize plans to find refinery joint ventures once the Tula coker sales process has advanced, the person familiar said.”

by Michelle Davis, Adam Williams, and Amy Stillman / Bloomberg

28 de marzo de 2017




Mexico signed seven deepwater exploration and production contracts with private oil

Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) presided over the signing of seven deepwater exploration and production contracts on Friday, bringing an end to the country’s historic Round One series of oil auctions.

The contracts were for blocks located in the Gulf of Mexico: three in the Perdido Fold Belt, a 40,000 sq.-kilometer (15,450 sq.-mile) area located in the northwestern part of the Gulf; and four in the Saline Basin, situated in the southern part of the Gulf.

The blocks were all awarded in early December.

The seven contracts are in addition to one signed last week by Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), American oil supermajor Chevron Corp. and Japan’s Impex that marked the first time Pemex had formed a consortium to compete for a block under a 2013 energy-sector overhaul ending the company’s nearly eight-decade monopoly.

Each of the contracts has a 35-year life span, but they can be extended for additional periods of 10 years and then five years.

In the Perdido Fold Belt, a unit of China National Offshore Oil Corporation signed contracts for Block 1 and Block 4, while a consortium made up of the local unit of France’s Total and the United States’ Exxon Mobil Exploration signed one for Block 2.

In the Saline Basin, a consortium made up of Norway’s Statoil, the United Kingdom’s BP Exploration and Total’s local unit signed contracts for Block 1 and Block 3.

A consortium made up of a unit of Malaysia’s Petronas, PC Carigali Mexico Operations; and Mexico’s Sierra Offshore Exploration signed a contract for Block 4, while a consortium made up of US energy company Murphy Oil’s local unit, the UK’s Ophir Energy, PC Carigali and Sierra Offshore inked another for Block 5.

Mexico’s energy sector, which has suffered a steady decline in crude output for more than a decade, will receive a major boost from oil production giants as a result of the Round One auctions, Energy Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said.

The companies that signed the contracts “are fully qualified and have the capital and experience to undertake projects of these dimensions (in which) there is no room for experimentation or error,” Coldwell said.

The seven blocks encompass a total area of 17,000 sq. kilometers and contain prospective hydrocarbon reserves estimated at 2 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent.


Enero NRGI_Broker_fianzas_sector_energetico-mexico-e1485213169858



BHP inks oil deal with Pemex Mexico

BHP Billiton has signed a contract with Pemex Exploration & Production Mexico to finish work on the Trion discovery in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

BHP secured a 60 per cent interest in the resource in December last year with Pemex retaining the remaining 40 per cent stake.

Trion has an estimated recoverable resource of 45Mmboe and, after full appraisal, is set to become one of the top 10 fields discovered in the Gulf of Mexico in the last 10 years.

The new agreement includes the delivery of a Minimum Work Program, which consists of drilling one appraisal well, one exploration well and the acquiring additional seismic data.

The signing ceremony was held at the Official Residence of the president in Mexico City on Saturday, attended by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie, and Pemex director general José Antonio González Anaya.

Mackenzie said the agreement was an historic moment for Mexico and the start of a new partnership between Pemex and BHP.

“It is an honour to be the first foreign company to partner with the people of Mexico in developing their significant petroleum resources for mutual benefit,” Mackenzie said.

Peña Nieto said the partnership with BHP will bring greater development for the country.

BHP president operations petroleum said the agreement aligned with the company’s plans to conduct oil exploration and development of deep water oil resources.

‘‘We have a long history as a top operator in the Gulf of Mexico and we are excited to bring our operational expertise to the partnership with Pemex,” Pastor said.

Sharon Masige / Oil&Gas Australian mining

March 6, 2017

Mexico’s Pemex Jan crude output drops 10.6 pct from a year ago

Mexican national oil company Pemex produced 10.6 percent less crude oil in January than in the same month last year, the company said.

January crude output averaged 2.02 million barrels per day (bpd), down from 2.26 million bpd during the same month in 2016, according to company data released on Friday.

Meanwhile, crude oil exports were down 3 percent in January compared to the year-ago period.

Shipments for the month averaged nearly 1.09 million bpd, compared to 1.12 million bpd exported in January 2016.

About half of Mexico’s crude exports currently go to the United States.

The Mexican government is in the midst of implementing a sweeping energy reform finalized in 2014 that ended the decades-long production monopoly enjoyed by Pemex, formally known as Petroleos Mexicanos.

The reform also paved the way for first-ever oil auctions open to private and foreign producers, four of which were concluded last year. While a range of oil companies won the blocks on offer, significant streams of new output are not expected for at least several years.

Mexico’s oil regulator, the administrator of the auctions, is expected to oversee three auctions covering a mix of shallow water and onshore fields, in addition to a deep water auction over the course of this year.

Mexican crude output has declined over the past dozen years from a peak of 3.4 million barrels per day in 2014.

The government expects crude production to average 1.94 million bpd this year, and between 1.9 million to 2.0 million bpd in 2018.


Reuters (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by David Gregorio) / Hellenic Shipping News