LIMA, March 27 China's largest energy company
will compete for future oil and gas development rights in
Mexico, a top company executive said on Thursday, which could
happen as soon as the end of this year.
Mexico's energy overhaul, approved in December, ended
state-run oil company Pemex's 75-year monopoly. It
aims to lure billions of dollars in foreign or private
investment via new contracts that the government says will be
auctioned off in public tenders.
Gong Bencai, vice president of China National Petroleum
Corporation's CNPC America division, pointed to Mexico when
asked on the sidelines of an energy conference in Peru if his
company plans to take part in any future bid rounds in Latin
"Yes, we are ready to participate in the Mexico venture,"
Gong said, without going into further detail. "This is a very
big market in the international business"
CNPC, parent of PetroChina, is Asia's
largest oil and gas producer.
Gustavo Hernandez, Pemex's top exploration and production
executive, said at the same conference that the first
opportunity for companies like CNPC may be right around the
"I think (the first international public tender) is going to
happen by the end of this year," he said.
Top government officials have previously said they do not
expect the first tenders until mid-2015.
Mexico's energy ministry is in the early stages of
implementing energy reforms, currently evaluating which fields
Pemex will keep via a so-called "Round Zero" allocation.
Pemex submitted its wish list last week, and now the
ministry has until mid-September to decide.
Once Round Zero is complete, ministry officials say they
will launch an annual international bid round through 2019, each
one covering about 20,000 square kilometres.
CNPC has expanded its presence in Latin America in recent
years and is now active in Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia,
Brazil, Cuba and Costa Rica.
In November, CNPC announced it was buying all of the
Peruvian assets of Brazil's state-run oil company
Petrobras for $2.6 billion.
(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing
by Kenneth Maxwell)