“What’s the country code for Australia?” Pemex Chief Executive Office Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya asks the six people in his 44th-floor office in Mexico City on Monday afternoon. “Is it 61? This might be our new partner calling.”
It is. Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of Melbourne-based BHP Billiton Ltd., was phoning after beating a rival bid to become Petroleos Mexicanos’ first-ever foreign partner in deep-water oil and natural gas drilling. Mexico is going to have to get used to more overseas calls — companies from Malaysia, China, Norway, the U.K., France and the U.S. won rights to drill Monday in the nation’s first deep-water offshore auction that allows outside investment.