MEXICO CITY, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The oil firm co-founded by the chairman of Canadian gold miner Goldcorp Inc wants to aggressively expand in Mexico in coming years, including a potential joint venture with state-owned Pemex, the company’s director said in an interview on Wednesday.
Canadian start-up Renaissance Oil Corp wants to grow its portfolio of projects in Mexico, aiming to reach up to 30 in the next five years, said Ian Telfer, the chairman of Goldcorp who helped start Renaissance in 2014.
“We’re looking to increase our assets here in the energy sector, and if our partner is Pemex, that would be fantastic,” said Telfer, also a major Renaissance shareholder.
Renaissance currently operates five onshore oil and gas projects in Mexico, having won four at auction in late 2015, plus a tie-up with Russian producer Lukoil announced earlier this year. It is the only publicly listed oil company outside Mexico focusing exclusively on the country’s oil patch.
Telfer, who helped lead Goldcorp over the past couple of decades as it grew into one of the world’s top five gold producers with major mines in Mexico, was visiting the Mexican capital to meet with government and Pemex officials.
He lauded the country’s four-year-old oil opening that ended Pemex’s decades-long monopoly, allowing foreign and private producers to operate fields on their own for the first time.
He said Renaissance was determined to gain a foothold in Mexico’s newly opened market, adding that the firm was happy to pay more than it would have liked - or “retail” rates - to acquire the onshore blocks it won.
Goldcorp’s former chief executive praised Mexico’s inaugural oil auctions as transparent, but he also offered some criticism.
“From where we sit, especially in the last 12 months, the permitting process has been slower than we would have hoped,” said Telfer.
Regarding a selenium leak at Goldcorp’s top producing Penasquito gold mine that was first reported last year by Reuters, Telfer said it is no longer a problem.
“It’s totally resolved, and the tailings enhancements have been done and we’ve got that completely behind us,” he said.
Further consolidation is likely in the gold industry, “probably in the mid-sector more than at the top,” Telfer said, adding that a major driver is a lack of major discoveries.
Amid recent speculation that he might retire, Telfer, 71, was quick to squash rumors he might leave Goldcorp or Renaissance anytime soon. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by James Dalgleish)