Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) was granted control of one of Mexico’s biggest oil discoveries by the government after months of deliberation, a shock to private investment and increasing the probability of international litigation. The consortium, made up of the US’ Talos Energy, the UK’s Premier Oil and Germany’s Wintershall DEA, invested $325mn in the project to date, the same companies that discovered the almost 700m-barrel Zama field in 2017. The battle over the oil field commenced as parts of the project spilled over onto Pemex-owned acreage. Mexico’s energy ministry granted Pemex control. “After six years of significant investments in Zama and the Mexican economy, as well as the delivery of a Zama development plan that is credible and in line with the objectives of Mexico, Talos is very disappointed with [the energy ministry’s] sudden decision to award operatorship to Pemex”, Talos declared.

While Pemex said that it owns 50.43% of the field, which is located 60km off the Gulf coast of the state of Tabasco, the consortium claims that it owns 60%. However, the ownership percentages usually change when drilling commences. The consortium has already drilled one exploratory and three appraisal wells, whilst Pemex has not drilled any wells on its acreage. “This is a direct signal to the market in terms of how this government views private sector investment in the Mexican energy industry…It seems that the government is definitely favouring Pemex over Talos” said Emily Medina, a fellow at the Energy Policy Research Foundation.

Pemex´s USD bonds were slightly up with its 4.875% 2024s up .16 to 105.713, yielding 2.53% and its 6.625% 2049s perps up .42 to 86.828, yielding 7.63%.

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