Mexico oil regulator cancels deep water Pemex tie-up auction

FILE PHOTO - Pemex logo is pictured during the launch of a new franchise and commercial strategy by Pemex, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s oil regulator on Thursday canceled a tender for a joint venture with state oil firm Pemex in the deep water Maximino-Nobilis area, as no company expressed interest in the auction.

The National Hydrocarbons Commision (CNH) said the auction to find a partner for Pemex to tap super light crude in the Maximino-Nobilis area, which lies in the Gulf of Mexico near the U.S. border, had been canceled as there had been no interest. The auction had been scheduled to take place on Jan. 31.

The joint ventures, known as “farm outs,” are a central pillar of the government’s efforts to lure investment to Mexico since Congress opened up the country’s long-closed oil and gas industry to private investment in 2014.

Last month, the CNH said that Pemex’s stake in the potentially lucrative tie-up would be cut to 40 percent from 49 percent.

Mexico’s oil regulator has previously said it expects the first commercial barrels from Nobilis-Maximino to come by 2024, with peak output of 174,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) and 265 million cubic feet of natural gas per day coming online in 2026.

Pemex has sunk two wells in Maximino at a depth of 3,000 meters (9,840 feet), discovering super light crude. In September 2016, Pemex said it had found super light crude in its Nobilis-1 well, also at some 3,000 meters.

Reporting by Adriana BarreraEditing by Sandra Maler