MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Mexico unveiled rules Thursday for the first phase of its historic opening of the oil sector to foreign investors, pledging transparent auctions in July for 14 shallow-water fields.
The highly-anticipated guidelines were made public four months after Congress gave final approval to legislation allowing foreign companies to drill for oil for the first time since 1938.
“It represents, without a doubt, the coming of a new era in energy in our country. It will be for the good of Mexico,” Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said at an event outlining the bidding process.
“The reform arrived on time. Mexico will put an end to its oil and gas decline and will reincorporate the world energy market with more strength and certainty.”
Mexico has never had auctions for oil exploration contracts. Before the sector’s nationalization 76 years ago, contracts were awarded on a discretionary basis.
Companies will be able on Monday to file applications for access to data on the 14 oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico.
They will then have six months from January 15 to prepare their bids, ending with an auction on July 15, when the winner will be announced during a public session of the National Hydrocarbon Commission shown live online.
“Mexico will conduct itself with the highest international standards of fairness and transparency,” Coldwell said.
The 14 oil fields cover an area of 4,222 square metres and are located off the states of Tabasco, Veracruz and Campeche.