Mexican Tycoon Slim Buys Stake in Zama Offshore Oil Field from Talos

(Reuters) A unit of Mexico’s Grupo Carso, controlled by the family of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, said on Thursday it has purchased a minority stake in Talos Energy Mexico for $124.75 million to obtain a portion of the offshore Zama oil project.

The acquisition needs approval of Mexican regulators, Carso said in its statement.

The Mexican subsidiary of Houston-based Talos Energy, which discovered Zama in 2017, controls 17.4% of the potentially lucrative deposit in Mexican territorial waters in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The project is now operated by state-owned oil company Pemex, after getting the nod to run operations by Mexico’s energy ministry following an extended fight over which company would lead the project.

Pemex holds the rights to a neighboring block that is believed to share Zama’s oil riches, one of the largest oil finds in Mexico in years.

Carso said it will acquire 49.9% of the Talos unit, and make two payments to buy the minority stake, a first one of $74.85 million when the deal closes, and then a second payment of $49.9 million once Zama’s commercial production begins.

The purchase is seen closing during the third quarter of this year, according to a separate statement from Talos on Thursday.    

“Grupo Carso will actively participate with Talos in order to obtain the most efficient execution of the project along with Pemex and the other members of the consortium,” Carso said in its statement.

The Talos-led consortium in Zama also includes Europe’s Wintershall DEA, which has a 19.8% stake, and Harbour Energy, which has 12.4%. Pemex holds 50.4%.

Carso noted it is making the purchase through its Zamajal unit.

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