Oil companies cancel exploration plans in Mexico

Isbel Lázaro.

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Inspenet, October 22, 2023.

Oil companies such as Repsol , BP and Chevron have abandoned their oil exploration plans in Mexico. Throughout this year, at least 16 companies have begun the process of early termination of their exploration contracts with the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH).

These companies, which began operations in Mexico in 2014, have reached a conclusion almost a decade later, which involves the partial return of areas and the renunciation of blocks that had been assigned to them.

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At the last meeting of the National Hydrocarbons Commission held last week, the regulatory body approved the return of an area that was under the control of Calicanto Oil&Gas, as well as a block assigned to the consortium made up of BP Exploration México, Equinor Upstream and TotalEnergies Mexico. The early resignation of two contractual areas that belonged to the Spanish company Repsol was also approved.

During the session it was explained that Calicanto, despite having authorization to explore a 10.5 kilometer region on the coast of Tabasco for a period of 25 years starting in 2016, notified its decision to renounce the assigned areas in July of 2023.

In the case of Repsol, the company decided to back out of two contracts that covered a period of 30 years and a combined area of ​​1,625 square kilometers in the Burgos basin, in the Gulf of Mexico.

For its part, the consortium composed of BP of the United Kingdom, TotalEnergies of France and Equinor of Norway signed a contract in March 2017 with a validity of 35 years to carry out exploration in the Saline Basin, in an area of ​​2,381 km 2 . In this case, the commissioners mentioned that these companies faced a financial penalty or conventional fine of $42.2 million due to their failure to comply with the minimum work program.

Other oil companies have abandoned exploration

These oil companies join a previous list of companies that have also abandoned the oil fields that had been awarded to them in tenders, mainly in the Gulf of Mexico .

Gonzalo Monroy, the general director of the energy consulting firm GMEC, points out that the oil companies that came to Mexico during the energy opening of the previous government had the objective of investigating whether the hydrocarbon potential found in the United States extended to Mexico and with it , the possibility of exploiting light oil. The expert also highlights that the global panorama of the oil market changed in 2020.

Since the beginning of the current administration, oil bidding rounds to grant new areas to private companies have been suspended, while production by the state oil company, Pemex, has remained stagnant.

In his most recent appearance, Octavio Ramírez Oropeza, the director of Pemex, predicted that by the end of 2024, oil production would reach 1.8 million barrels per day, a figure well below the initial projection of more than two million. of barrels at the beginning of this administration.

Source: https://elpais.com/mexico/2023-10-16/repsol-bp-o-chevron-las-grandes-petroleras-tiran-la-toalla-en-mexico.html?outputType=amp

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