| MEXICO CITY, July 1
MEXICO CITY, July 1 The first big set of
contracts for oil and gas development in Mexico are likely to be
delayed a few months, an energy ministry official said on
Tuesday, after disagreements in Congress over detailed
legislation to underpin them.
Congress is currently discussing so-called secondary laws,
including some new rules and amendments to existing ones, needed
to set in motion a landmark energy reform passed in December to
open up the oil and gas industry to private capital.
Mexico's energy ministry initially said the first round of
contracts, which will cover a mix of onshore and offshore fields
including shale and deep water blocks, would come in the first
half of 2015.
But disagreements between President Enrique Pena Nieto's
centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the
opposition have pushed back deadlines for passing the rules.
"I think there will have to be a small adjustment in the
times," said Gabriel Heller, the energy ministry's director of
"I'd like to think we're talking about between the middle of
next year to the end of the third quarter next year," he added,
referring to when the first set of contracts will go to tender.
Ongoing congressional negotiations over the content of
secondary laws for an overhaul of the telecommunications and
broadcasting sectors have also affected the debate on the energy
legislation, leading to further hold-ups.
The energy ministry has until mid-September to decide which
fields will be assigned to Pemex in the so-called "Round Zero"
allocation that will reveal which areas will then be up for
grabs when competitive bid rounds begin.
(Writing by Christine Murray; editing by Andrew Hay)