Shell big winner in Mexico's offshore auction

Shell big winner in Mexico's offshore auction

The super major - which once dominated the country's oil industry and operates the deepest prospects in the US side of the Gulf - made a comeback by winning about a third of the offerings in Mexico's biggest-yet bidding round. Some firms bid alone, and others in consortiums.

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell won nine of the blocks - four as a lone bidder, four in a consortium with Qatar Petroleum, and one in association with the state oil giant Petroleos de Mexico (Pemex), Mexican officials said.

The blocks are all located off the state of Tamaulipas, on Mexico's northeastern coast.

The winning bids were announced yesterday by the National Hydrocarbon Commission of Mexico (CNH) at the conclusion of a public bidding session in Mexico City, during which CNH also received the competing bids. World-wide, Shell deepwater production is progressing to greater than 900-thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2020, from already discovered, established areas in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, and Malaysia.

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Flores said the $93 billion expected to be invested in the projects could create 230,000 jobs in the first 15 years.

The decision follows the Pena Nieto administration's controversial 2013 energy reform package that ended Pemex's seven-decade monopoly over the sector. The company said its "Whale" well struck a potentially major oil payload while drilling to about 23,000 feet in the deepwater Gulf about 200 miles southwest of Houston.

The auction of exploration and production permits on Wednesday was the strongest sign so far that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's energy reform is bearing fruit by luring investment plans that will help get Mexico's oil production back on track.

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