Mexico deep-water set for 5 December

Deep-water round: CNH president Juan Carlos Zepeda reflects on strong interest seen

Mexican oil regulators have firmed up an opening date for the company's highly anticipated deep-water bid round.

The round will open on 5 December, the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) oil regulator said on Friday.

The country's president, Enrique Pena Nieto, told CeraWeek attendees in Houston on Monday that the administration would proceed with the event.

The decision to proceed despite widespread oil industry pain was due to high levels of interest from top global players in both data room activity and a plethora of ongoing seismic collection, CNH commissioners said.

"These deep-water projects are very long term," president commissioner Juan Carlos Zepeda Molina said at the meeting, indicating the immediate price was not a prohibitive factor.

With data rooms open less than two months, seven major oil players have already requested pre-qualification: US independents Anadarko and Hess, US supermajors Chevron and ExxonMobil, and European majors Shell, Statoil and Total.

Others who have now obtained data room access include US independent Noble Energy, Australian player BHP Billiton and UK supermajor BP.

Three others have requested data room access with approval pending: US independent Cobalt International Energy, Japan's Jogmec and Canadian player Petro Canada International Holdings.

A total of 20 have shown interest.

The round will offer a total of 10 blocks, four in the northern Perdido fold-belt and six in the sourthen Salina del Istmo basin.

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