MEXICO CITY, April 20 (Reuters) - Mexican state-run oil company Pemex plans a second deepwater “farm-out” joint venture in the Maximino and Nobilis areas in the Gulf of Mexico where super light crude has been found near the U.S. border, two people familiar with the matter said this week.
The people said Pemex will likely seek approval in June from the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH), the industry regulator, to launch a tender for partners with the aim of announcing a winner in December.
“Maximino-Nobilis may be assigned in December and we hope the CNH will announce it in June,” said one of the sources. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans are not yet public.
Pemex did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
The farm-outs are a central pillar of the government’s efforts to lure investment to Mexico since Congress opened up the country’s long-closed oil and gas industry to private investment in a legislative drive between 2013 and 2014.
Under the farm-outs, Pemex cannot choose which company would help it develop each project. The ultimate decision lies with the CNH following a round of competitive bids.
The process allows Pemex to share the risks and rewards of expensive deepwater oil development projects.
Australian mining and energy company BHP Billiton in December won the right to partner with Pemex in the first deepwater farm-out for the Trion light oil field, less than 50 miles (80 km) from the U.S.-Mexico maritime border.
A separate, shallow water farm-out auction for the Ayin-Batsil field is due to take place in October.
Pemex has sunk two wells in Maximino at a depth of 3,000 meters, discovering super light crude.
In September 2016, Pemex said it had found super light crude in its Nobilis-1 well, also at some 3,000 meters.
Both areas lie in the Perdido fold belt, like Trion. (Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Dave Graham and Matthew Lewis)