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Exclusive: Talos concerned that Pemex could delay first oil from Zama discovery

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The chief executive of Talos Energy said on Wednesday it is “concerning” that the Zama oil discovery in the southern Gulf of Mexico could be delayed by what he described as “unrelated” exploration plans by national oil company Pemex.

The Talos chief executive, Tim Duncan, said an objective analysis of the Zama find shows that 60% of the reservoir is within the block it and its partners won at an auction in 2015 and currently operates.

“It’s concerning that the development of our world-class discovery, which also entails up to $28 billion in fiscal revenue for the Mexican government and a significant boost in production for Pemex, could end up being delayed by other non-Zama exploratory plans from Pemex,” Duncan said. “It’s clear that our plan also offers the fastest, most realistic path to first oil.”

Pemex Chief Executive Officer Octavio Romero told a news conference earlier in the day that the company believes most of the crude found by the consortium lies in an adjacent block where it holds development rights.

Zama is the largest oil discovery made by any private company in Mexico in decades.

The fight for control of Zama could mark a turning point for Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist who favors a state-centric energy industry, as he seeks to boost the economy without scaring off private sector investors.

Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler