30 July 2015, News Wires – Mexico’s energy minister said the country will postpone auctions for deep-water oil and gas licenses and adjust the terms of upcoming tenders after its inaugural bid round failed to meet the government’s modest expectations.
Pedro Joaquin Coldwell told local television the government will change rules that scared off potential bidders earlier this month, Reuters reported. Rights for just two of 14 blockson offer were awarded in first phase of Round 1.
He signaled that the government will relax its requirement that consortia bidding on oil parcels must have one member act as a guarantor and hold shareholder equity of at least $6 billion to protect the state’s interest in the event of a major accident, according to the news wire.
“We are revising the issue of the guarantees,” said Joaquin Coldwell in a Tuesday night interview with top Mexican broadcaster Televisa’s cable news channel Foro TV.
He also said the government would tweak rules prohibiting a consortium from selecting a new company to replace a pre-selected operator that pulls out. He said that rule thwarted some bids in this month’s auction.
The government will also allow companies to make a second bid in auctions if an initial bid fails to meet a pre-set minimum, he told the TV station.
This month’s disappointing auction was the first of a scheduled five-phase auction that will extend into next year for oil regulator CNH.
Joaquin Coldwell, also chairman of the board of state-owned oil company Pemex, said the critical fourth phase covering lucrative deep-water acreage in the Gulf of Mexico would be postponed to allow the government and companies more time to pore over details.
“We are conducting a full evaluation in order to launch the deep-water call for bids by the end of September and give us more time to perfect the criteria because we shouldn’t have any margin for error on that,” he said.
The oil regulator had previously said the call for bids, followed by the opening of the corresponding data rooms, would be made by the end of this month.
Joaquin Coldwell said the fifth phase, which was to focus on unconventional oil and gas fields, has been frozen.
“Right now we have suspended it pending a future evaluation,” he said.
The government had previously said that the fifth phase would be trimmed but would still go forward.