14 | NOV | 2019
Mexican government is not seeking control of Zama oilfield

Mexican government is not seeking control of Zama oilfield

04/10/2019
13:30
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
David Alire Garcia, Bernadette Baum, Steve Orlofsky, Adriana Barrera & Ana Isabel Martinez/REUTERS & Alberto Morales y Pedro Villa y Caña/EL UNIVERSAL
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President López Obrador denied the Mexican government is trying to take control of the Zama oilfield discovery, currently operated by private consortium Talos Energy

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On Thursday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that his government is not seeking to take control of the Zama oilfield discovery, which is currently operated by a private consortium led by U.S.-based Talos Energy.

Reuters reported earlier this week that Mexico’s national oil company, Pemex, wants to take control of Zama from Talos, which made the discovery on the edge of its block, adjacent to an area belonging to Pemex and where the find likely extends.

“It’s a deposit that is shared with Pemex and there’s no problem,” López Obrador told reporters at his regular morning news conference without going into further detail.

An official with the U.S. Department of State also weighed in on Zama, describing the possibility that Pemex could take operational control of the project as a “disturbing development,” according to a report by Mexican newspaper Reforma on Thursday.

The newspaper quoted Kurt Donnelly, the department’s deputy assistant secretary for energy diplomacy, as saying that the U.S. government would seek to defend American investments in Mexico and that this type of concern has been communicated to Mexican officials.
 

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“Mexico seemingly was on the right path. This might indicate that they are deviating in a way,” Donnelly told Reforma.

López Obrador was asked for his reaction to the U.S. official’s comments but appeared not to be aware of them.

Zama, offshore in the southern Gulf of Mexico, was discovered in 2017 and is believed to contain nearly one billion barrels of oil, making it the largest non-Pemex discovery in Mexico in decades.

Pemex has yet to drill on its neighboring block to confirm the extension of the discovery.

The Talos-led consortium also includes Germany’s Wintershall DEA and Britain’s Premier Oil.
 

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According to Reuters, the consortium led by Talos Energy and Premier Oil would give up a Mexican oil contract in the Gulf of Mexico’s shallow waters due to a lack of commercial discovery.

The return of the block was expected to be announced by Pemex later on Wednesday, however, the confirmation is yet to be made. The consortium in 2015 was awarded a contract to explore the block, area 2 of Mexico’s first shallow water round.

For his part, López Obrador asserted that the changes in the general structure of Pemex International (PMI) are related to a clean-up and that some of the directives had been on their posts for over 30 years.

Last week, Pemex informed that the former director of PMI, Raúl Enrique Galicia, had been substituted by Ulises Hernández, who had been an executive in Pemex Exploration and Production, while Armando Mejía Sánchez replaces Víctor Briones as chief of oil commercialization.

In his morning news conferences, in the National Palace, President López Obrador explained that PMI had become an anonymous society.
 

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“Imagine, a company that sells and purchases petroleum, all the crude, a million barrels daily; they set the prices through formulas and decide who to sell it to and they buy everything, and they were distant from the government.”

He pointed out that as part of the clean-up, the administration council gathered and 10 directives were changed, starting by the most relevant positions.

In that context, the President denied his government is trying to take control of the Zama oilfield.

“No, it is an oilfield shared with Pemex and there is no problem, they need more information. Besides, with all due respect, why does the [U.S.] Department of State intervene?” he said.
 

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