Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp., which has a base in Colombia and claims to be the largest independent oil and gas producer in Latin America, have entered into a three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) to analyze potential oil and natural gas cooperation in Mexico. This will include exploration, deep-water projects, revitalization of mature fields, heavy and extra-heavy oil onshore and offshore fields, high water production fields and other upstream activities.

“We are very pleased to be one of the first foreign independent oil and gas producers to sign an agreement with Pemex and look forward to working together to develop a sustainable energy sector in Mexico,” said Pacific Rubiales CEO Ronald Pantin. “This partnership combines the strengths and advantages of both companies to identify and pursue collaboration opportunities offered by the recent opening up of the Mexican oil and gas sector to foreign investment.

Pemex has been positioning itself for change since Mexico’s Congress in August approved legislation that opened the country’s energy sector to private investment (see Daily GPI, Oct. 8; Aug. 14; Aug. 7).

Earlier this month, Pemex signed an MOU with ExxonMobil Corp. “to establish the basis of dialogue and understanding” regarding upstream and downstream businesses (see Daily GPI, Oct. 2) and, in a separate move, announced that affiliate PMI and NuStar Energy LP of San Antonio plan to develop pipeline infrastructure to carry liquefied petroleum gases and refined products from the United States to Mexico (see Daily GPI, Oct. 15). Other recent moves by Pemex include the formation of an alliance with Mercuria and JP Morgan to import U.S. gas into Mexico (see Daily GPI, Aug. 1) and the awarding of a deepwater subsea project in the gas-rich Lakach field offshore Mexico to OneSubsea (see Daily GPI, Oct. 13).

Mexico’s legislative reforms were meant to stimulate oil and gas production in the energy-rich country. The Mexican government estimates private investments in the oil and gas sector could bring in $50 billion between 2015 and 2018. Eyeing increased federal revenues from the opening of the nation’s energy plays to foreign investment, the government recently established a special fund in the nation’s central bank (see Daily GPI, Oct. 3). Income from oil and natural gas activities will be distributed by the Mexican Oil Fund for Stabilization and Development to the federal government’s budget and to a long-term savings account.

Pacific Rubiales, which operates in almost all the hydrocarbon basins in Colombia, also focuses its efforts in eastern Peru, and Guatemala. It owns Meta Petroleum Corp., which operates the Rubiales, Piriri and Quifa heavy oil fields in Colombia’s Llanos Basin; Pacific Stratus Energy Colombia Corp., which operates the La Creciente natural gas field in Colombia; Petrominerales Ltd, which owns light and heavy oil assets in Colombia and oil and gas assets in Peru; PetroMagdalena Energy Corp., which owns light oil assets in Colombia, and C&C Energia Ltd., which owns light oil assets in the Llanos Basin. Pacific Rubiales also owns producing and exploration assets in Brazil, Guyana, Belize and Papua New Guinea.