Chevron, Total Log Big Discovery in Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

Mexico auctions six of nine major deep-water oil blocks

Qatar Petroleum has won exploration rights in 5 offshore blocks in Mexico.

So far 26 companies from 16 countries-among them United States heavyweights Exxon and Chevron, as well as the British-Dutch Shell and France's Total-are qualified to participate in the auction of 29 oil blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, according to Mexico's oil regulator.

Mexico has two more oil and gas auctions lined up for this year-one in June and one towards the end of the year-but the chances of all blocks finding suitors are mixed in light of the abovementioned political worries after Obrador said he will review and very likely revise the contracts that Pena-Nieto's government signs with foreign oil companies.

Mexico's authorities considered the tender a success since 19 blocks found suitors versus expectations for only seven to be awarded.

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Shell won almost half of the offshore blocks awarded, especially in the Perdido Foldbelt region near the Texas-Mexico border and Shell's existing developments on the US side of the Gulf.

According to Chevron, Ballymore consolidates its position in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico with the new oil discovery located about 4.8kms from the company's Blind Faith platform.

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, said a statement.

The higher oil price helped Shell to put in solid bids, de la Fuente said.

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Shell also was a big victor in an oil auction for blocks in Brazil's deepwater in October, obtaining three blocks in the presalt region in the Atlantic Ocean. Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador are also auctioning oil and gas fields this year.

"This has been another successful day for the oil sector in Mexico", said deputy hydrocarbons secretary Aldo Flores.

Some of the firms that won in previous auctions have made big finds, adding over 2 billion barrels of oil equivalent to reserves.

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