The Mexican government has given its approval for 19 prequalified companies -- including subsidiaries of Chevron Corp., ExxonMobil Corp., Hess Corp. and Marathon Oil Corp. -- plus seven consortia to bid on 14 offshore exploratory blocks in the shallow Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

In a statement Monday, Mexico's Comision Nacional de Hidrocarburos (CNH) said the subsidiaries -- Chevron Energía de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V.; ExxonMobil Exploracion y Produccion Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V.; Hess Mexico Oil and Gas, S. de R.L. de C.V. and Marathon Offshore Investment Ltd. -- were among the prequalified companies that will be allowed to bid on July 15 in the country's first tender open to foreign investment (see Daily GPI, May 1).

The consortia list includes a partnership of subsidiaries of Noble Energy Corp., Italy's Eni SpA and Casa Exploration LP. Another includes Houston-based Talos Energy LLC, Mexico's Sierra Oil & Gas, S. de R.L. de C.V. and Switzerland's Glencore E&P (Mexico) Ltd.

Last December, CNH launched what it has dubbed "Round 1" for bidding on the development of the country's resources, inviting oil and gas companies to bid on the 14 exploratory blocks in the shallow GOM (see Daily GPI, Dec. 11, 2014). Two months later, CNH invited companies to bid on five contracts to extract oil and gas from nine fields in the shallow GOM.

CNH will award the 14 exploration contracts on July 15 and the five extraction contracts on Sept. 30.

According to reports, the CNH board on Monday also voted unanimously to extend the deadline for comments on draft contracts and bid terms until June 4. The board also reportedly extended the deadline for final production-sharing contracts and bid terms to June 9.

Last year, Mexico's Congress enacted legislation introduced by Nieto to reform the nation's energy policies and break some of the monopolistic power of state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) (see Daily GPI, Aug. 7, 2014; May 2, 2014). Among the reforms was a directive allowing outside investment in Mexico's energy sector.