Mexico plans a mix of areas for first international oil tender

MEXICO CITY, March 28 Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:14pm IST

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MEXICO CITY, March 28 (Reuters) - Mexico will offer up a geological mix of prospective oil blocks when it launches its first international public tender as part of a landmark energy reform, a top Energy Ministry official said on Friday.

Approved in December, Mexico's energy reform ended state-run oil company Pemex's [PEMX.UL}] 75-year monopoly on oil exploration and production and paves the way for the entry of private oil majors.

"We are seeing in the first bid round, two areas in deep waters, some areas of shale gas, some areas of the non-conventional Chicontepec (basin), and some areas in shallow waters," Lourdes Melgar, deputy minister for hydrocarbons, said in a conference call with investors.

Melgar said the ministry continues to work on the design of the initial public bid round, which will be launched following the so-called Round Zero allocation for Pemex.

Pemex submitted its Round Zero wish list last week, and the ministry has until mid-September to decide which oil fields the company will keep.

Mexico is expected to launch an international bid round for oil and gas development rights each year through 2019, each one covering about 20,000 sq km.

The Energy Ministry has said the first international bid round is expected by mid-2015 and will likely cover 25,000 sq km, but at a energy conference in Peru on Thursday a top Pemex official said it could happen by the end of this year.

The reform championed by President Enrique Pena Nieto seeks to lure significant new infusions of private investment via new contracts that aim to boost growth and slumping domestic oil output. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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