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Mexico opens oil fields to private firms in bid to boost production

Mexico’s government is to end the monopoly of its national oil firm Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, allowing private companies access to the lion’s share of its prospective oil resources.

The Government hopes that the bidding process, due to start in 2015, will enable Pemex to increase its production through joint ventures carried out with other firms.

Pemex will retain 83% of Mexico’s current oil reserves, including those that are awaiting development. However, it will only hang on to around a fifth of its prospective resources, even though it is reported that it would have preferred to keep 31%. Still, Pemex will maintain enough oil reserves to give it a large advantage in its new competitive market.

The most sought-after Mexican oil fields, as far as the big US oil companies are concerned, are those in the deep water areas off the Gulf of Mexico. While energy giants have been successfully producing oil in areas of the Gulf currently open to them, Pemex, lacking the required finances and technology, has not been able to establish any deep water production of its own.

Head of Pemex Emilio Lozoya said the company would now invite private firms to work with it on big projects, including deep water and mature fields. This is something that it could not previously do. An ExxonMobil representative said that the company welcomed the news from Mexico. The global oil firm, known for its highly successful products, such as the lubricant Mobil SHC 630, announced it would take up any competitive investment opportunities in the country.

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