Mexican state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, Pemex, is claiming a majority interest of more than the 50% of the offshore oilfield, Zama, from Talos Energy; which, in consortium, discovered the field at the Block 7, back in 2015.
Firstly, Pemex filed a report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last Monday; on it, the company claimed that indeed it has a majority interest in the field; contradicting a previous assessment commissioned by Talos.
Secondly, the company Netherland, Sewell & Associates Inc. previously assessed the area and said that nearly 60% of the Zama resource was indeed located within the Block 7, a shallow water tract. Which was awarded to Talos back in 2015, during the bidding round 1.2.
Thirdly, despite the assessment, Pemex filed the document citing an anonymous “expert report”, arguing that Pemex owns 50,43% of the Zama reservoir; while the consortium only possess’ 49,57%.
Moreover, according to specialized news media, is the Mexican federal government, and not Pemex, the one who actually owns all the subsoil and mineral goods of the nation; despite who has the rights of exploitation above-ground.
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Pemex violating USMCA agreements, claims
Nevertheless, the claims by Pemex spark even more intrigue; under the presidency of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexican government has rolled back previous energy agreements; and it is stepping back from the energy reform of past government, which has set the alarms for U.S. investors and energy operators.
In addition, Lopez Obrador has taken a nationalist path, and has called out bidding rounds that actually made the discovery of Zama possible; on top of that is claiming back the rights previously awarded to foreign companies. This has increased tensions with the U.S. energy sector, which has claimed “discriminatory” behavior by Mexico.
In fact, it was the American Petroleum Institute the one who has written to the Biden administration, alleging discriminatory treatment; and more importantly, the violation of the USMCA agreement.
Finally, more energy companies are accusing Mexico of modifying to their benefit; even revoking and changing essential permits for importation and marketing of petroleum goods; like fuels, by private companies in the country.