(Adds details on the tender rounds, allocations, joint
By David Alire Garcia and Tomás Sarmiento
MEXICO CITY Aug 13 Mexico expects to attract
$50.5 billion in new private and foreign investment by 2018 as
part of a historic opening of its oil sector that begins next
year with a first round of contracts, the country's top oil
officials said on Wednesday.
The so-called Round One tender will offer up 169 exploration
and extraction blocks, including a mix of both onshore and
offshore areas, and cover a total of 28,500 square km.
The tender will be organized by Mexico's national
hydrocarbons commission and will happen as early as May 2015 and
no later than September, said commission president Juan Carlos
The landmark tender will prioritize areas that boost output
quickly and leave trickier deep water projects for later, he
Separately, the energy ministry on Wednesday assigned 83
percent of Mexico's probable and possible reserves to Pemex
under a so-called Round Zero allocation.
The allocation provides the Mexican oil company with a new,
slimmed-down portfolio of assets to develop on its own or enter
into joint ventures with international oil majors such Chevron
Corp and BP Plc.
The rounds are among the first steps of an energy overhaul
championed by President Enrique Pena Nieto to break Pemex's
75-year-old monopoly and reverse a decade-long slide in crude
The energy ministry said it had assigned 21 percent of
Mexico's prospective resources to Pemex, versus the 31 percent
the company had asked for.
The total area assigned to Pemex under Round Zero is equal
to 20.6 billion barrels of proven and probable oil reserves. But
the company was also given prospective resources totaling 22.1
billion barrels of oil equivalent covering 90,000 square km.
"Pemex will continue to be the big business of Mexico," said
Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell.
Mexico is the world's 10th largest crude producer, but since
hitting peak production of 3.38 million bpd in 2004, output
slipped to 2.52 million bpd last year. Last month, Pemex revised
its output forecast for this year down to 2.44 million bpd.
Pemex Chief Executive Emilio Lozoya said the company wanted
to set up joint ventures with private companies on 10 different
"Pemex faces the biggest challenge in its history, the
challenge of competing all along the value chain," Lozoya said.
Pemex's top exploration and production executive, Gustavo
Hernandez, said the company still planned to compete in Round
One for blocks it was not awarded in Round Zero.
The energy ministry said the Round Zero allocation provides
Pemex with a production "floor" of about 2.5 million bpd over
the next two decades.
Pemex will by February seek new contractual arrangements for
11 fields it was assigned to take advantage of a more favorable
tax structure under the reform.
The company will also seek tie-ups for projects at
particularly complex, costly fields, including heavy oil
offshore areas, large deep water gas developments and some
acreage in the deep water Perdido Fold Belt.
(With reporting by Adriana Barrera and Anahi Rama; Writing by
Simon Gardner and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Kieran Murray
and Andre Grenon)