Pemex Slow to Lure Oil Majors to Join Its Big Gulf Venture

Pemex expected oil majors to line up for a historic chance to help it tap the giant Perdido reserves in ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. So far sign-ups for an auction have only trickled in.

Days before the Sept. 5 deadline to begin the bidding process to join Petroleos Mexicanos’s first oil production joint venture since ending more than seven decades of state monopoly, Chevron Corp, BP Plc and Total SA were the only big oil producers among the five companies that had enrolled as of Thursday, according to data on the oil regulator’s website. Exxon Mobil Corp. was added to the list Friday, while Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which have paid for access to the field’s seismic data, still aren’t among pre-qualified bidders.

Being the state oil company in a country where the industry is still mostly a government affair comes with many benefits, but that’s exactly what may be scaring investors away. The joint operating agreement, or JOA, drafted by the Mexican government may expose Pemex’s partners to excessive environmental risks in a challenging area of the Gulf, while Pemex retains a large role in the decision-making, analysts said. That might explain the tepid demand.

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