France's Total renounces rights to deep water block in Mexican Gulf

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s oil regulator approved on Friday a request by French oil company Total SA to give up its exploration and production rights to a deep water block in the southern Gulf of Mexico that the firm had won at auction in 2016.

The regulator said Total decided to return the block due to the results it had obtained to date, and must pay a fine of $21.2 million for failing to comply with its contract’s minimum exploration work requirements.

Total, the project’s operator, had won rights to the area in a consortium that also included U.S. oil major ExxonMobil.

Mexico’s Hokchi Energy and U.S. Talos Energy have also relinquished some of their rights for exploring oil and gas areas in Mexico after winning offshore blocks as part of Mexico’s flagship 2013 energy reform.

Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Richard Chang