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Mexico plans more oil auctions

February 10, 2018

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MEXICO CITY: Mexico will push ahead with more oil auctions through the end of this year even if the leftist presidential front-runner and sharp critic of the energy opening were to win the July race, Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said in an interview.

In addition to a March auction covering shallow water oil and gas blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, and an onshore auction in July, the energy ministry may also seek more partnerships for national oil company Pemex in October, Joaquin Coldwell told Reuters late on Thursday.

The auctions to select equity partners for the Pemex joint venture partnerships would take place some three months after the election, but before the new president takes office in December.

The front-runner in the polls is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a two-time presidential runner-up and fierce resource nationalist who has pledged to review all contracts from Mexico’s previous eight oil auctions.

While the former Mexico City mayor has been somewhat vague about how he would approach the 2013 constitutional energy reform if elected, Lopez Obrador has stopped short of calling for it to be scrapped. The reform allowed private producers to operate oil and gas fields on their own, while ending Pemex’s decades-long monopoly and allowing it to enter into first-ever joint ventures.

“It’s going to be a year of intense activity... These auctions are going to happen regardless of who wins the presidency,” Joaquin Coldwell said.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2018