Mexico City, 9 June (Argus) — Mexico's oil regulator CNH pushed back the pre-qualification deadline for companies interested in bidding on nine shallow-water development blocks in the hope of boosting participation in the face of lower oil prices this year.
The initial 15 June deadline was postponed to 23 June to give companies more time to analyze bidding requirements which will be published on 12 June, the CNH said at an extraordinary session today.
The deadline to submit final proposals remains unchanged at 30 September.
After a slow start, interest is picking up for the Gulf of Mexico blocks, which contain a total estimated 355mn bl of oil equivalent (boe).
So far 36 companies have shown interest in the blocks, which are divided into five contracts.
According to CNH data, 29 companies have paid to access geological information but only 15 have started the pre-qualification process. The nine development blocks are the second package in the multi-phase first round.
The CNH also said it would publish today the final version of bidding requirements and contracts for 14 shallow water exploration blocks, which kicked off Mexico's historic staggered licensing round in December.
No major changes were made to the contracts since their updated versions published on 29 May. "There were no changes made on the fiscal terms, or on the requirements for consortiums that want to participate in the round," CNH president Juan Carlos Zepeda Molina said.
The 26 companies pre-qualified for the first package have until 15 June to add a potential financial partner to their teams and will present their final proposals on 15 July.
Mexico hopes the tender will help reverse a decade-long decline in crude production, which fell to a record low of 2.201mn b/d in April, down by 11pc from a year ago. The round will culminate with deepwater blocks in early July.