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The next auction for exploration rights to 29 deep water areas in the Mexican Gulf has attracted strong interest from single companies and from consortia, and Mexican bunker companies are looking at increased offshore activity as a potential boost to their supply operations.

The sale, scheduled for 31 January by the Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos (CNH), is the latest, and largest, round in a series of auctions for exploration rights following the deregulation of the Mexican energy market which began in 2014. The opening up of these deepwater blocks to international companies is expected to challenge the dominant position of state-owned Pemex, whose inefficiencies have been largely responsible for the current cash-starved and stagnant Mexican energy infrastructure.

Mexican bunker suppliers are preparing themselves for potential new business, although delivering marine fuel to E&P vessels in the often rough sea conditions of the Mexican Gulf can be a challenging proposition.

In 2017, for example, Enermar chartered two vessels, the Energy and the Tenabo, to undertake offshore deliveries, while last June Navalmex brought the 5,800 mt Shekina into service in the Gulf of Mexico to supply offshore vessels undertaking gas pipeline construction.

The recent rise in global oil prices to over $70 a barrel may also be making the next sale of rights to Mexico’s as yet untapped oil reserves a more attractive proposition for potential bidders.

The individual companies who have registered to bid in the 31 January auction are:

BHP Billiton (Australia)
China Offshore Oil Corp. (China)
ExxonMobil (United States)
Noble Energy Mexico (United States)
Pemex (Mexico)
PC Carigali (Petronas) (Malaysia)
Shell (Netherlands)
Statoil (Norway)
Total (France)

The consortia who are bidding for licences are:

BP and Statoil (United Kingdom and Norway)
BP, Statoil and Total (United Kingdom, Norway and France)
Chevron and Pemex (United States and Mexico)
Chevron, Pemex and Inpex (United States, Pemex and Japan)
Chevron, Pemex and ONGC Videsh Limited (United States, Mexico and India)
China Offshore Oil Corp. and PC Carigali (Petronas) (China and Malaysia)
ENI, Qatar Petroleum International and Citla Energy (Italy, Qatar and Mexico)
ENI and Qatar Petroleum International (Italy and Qatar)
Noble Energy, Deutsche Erdoel (United States and Germany)
Noble Energy, Deutsche Erdoel and Pemex (United States, Mexico and Germany)
Pemex and China Offshore Oil Corp (Mexico and China)
PC Carigali (Petronas), Ophir and PTTEP (Malaysia, United Kingdom and Thailand)
Repsol and PC Carigali (Petronas) (Spain and Malaysia)
Repsol, PC Carigali (Petronas) and PTTEP (Spain, Malaysia and Thailand)
Repsol, Qatar Petroleum International and Ophir (Spain, Malaysia and United Kingdom)
Shell and Pemex (Netherland and Mexico)
Shell and Qatar Petroleum International (Netherlands and Qatar)

In the December/January issue of Bunkerspot magazine, Lesley Bankes-Hughes looks at the potential opportunities for Mexico’s bunker suppliers in the Gulf of Mexico following the country’s energy reforms.


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