Mercados / NGI Mexico GPI / Markets

Bidders Sit Out Tender to Hire State Oil, NatGas Marketer for Mexico’s PSAs

Companies passed on Mexico’s first tender to hire a marketer for the oil and natural gas output that the government receives from operators with production-sharing agreements (PSAs).

The upstream regulator, the Comision Nacional de Hidrocarburos (CNH), on Tuesday voided the tender, which involved two marketing contracts – one for oil and condensates, the other for natural gas.

CNH issued a call for bids on Oct. 9. BP plc, Trafigura Group Pte Ltd., the trading arm of Royal Dutch Shell plc and PMI Comercio Internacional each submitted questions during a clarification period, but none ended up participating in the tender.

According to the bidding terms, the fees for the three-year services contracts were capped at 25 cents/bbl for oil and 2.5 cents/MMbtu for natural gas.

A CNH spokesperson told NGI that the regulator expected to relaunch the tender “in the coming weeks,” although it had yet to determine on a specific date.

CNH is organizing the tender on behalf of Mexico’s sovereign oil fund, the Fondo Mexicano del Petroleo (FMP). The aim is to replace a short-term marketing contract that the fund signed last year with PMI Comercio Internacional, the international oil marketing arm of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), before it expires on Dec. 31.

“No mechanism has been determined yet for replacing that contract if a new one isn’t awarded by then,” the CNH spokesperson said.

PSAs are one of several upstream contractual models introduced by the Mexican energy reforms, which began in 2013. In a PSA, an operator must turn over a portion of production to the state. The government take for each contract is determined by competitive bidding in Mexico’s periodic lease auctions.

The FMP receives the state’s share of hydrocarbons in the PSA contracts. The fund also manages royalty cash payments made to the governmentunder other oil and natural gas contracts, as well as the bonus fees used for tie-breakers in the auctions.

To date, 16 operators have signed PSAs in Mexico – 15 private companies or consortiums and one Pemex contract that was migrated to a PSA in May. All of the contracts are for offshore blocks in the shallow waters along the Gulf of Mexico, and the government take ranges from 20-84%.

The Pemex contract,for the offshore Ek-Balam field in the Bay of Campeche, is the only PSA currently with production. Its output in June averaged 33,790 b/d of crude and 5.79 MMcf/d of gas, according to the latest figures from CNH.

However, the other PSAs include two blocks with recent finds by private operators – the Zama discovery by Talos Energy LLC and its partners and Eni SpA’s Amoca field, both in the Bay of Campeche.

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