UPDATE 3-Mexico's oil regulator awards first 14 contracts at auction
(New throughout, adds results from first 14 contracts)
By David Alire Garcia
MEXICO CITY Dec 15 (Reuters) - Mexico's oil regulator awarded the first 14 onshore contracts up for grabs at Tuesday's auction, a tender aimed at boosting relatively new Mexican oil companies following a historic sector reform finalized last year.
The number of contracts awarded so far have already exceeded the government's modest expectations for the auction. The country's oil regulator has estimated that the auction of all 25 contracts on offer could ultimately attract about $1 billion in total investment.
Mexican firm Diavaz Offshore, a longtime service provider to state-owned oil company Pemex, won two contracts while Canada's Renaissance Oil Corp, has already nabbed three.
Strata Campos Maduros and Compania Petrolera Perseus, both Mexican start-ups, have each been awarded two contracts.
Competing alone and in consortia, some 80 mostly Mexican companies pre-qualified for the onshore auction run by the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH).
But only half registered to bid on the contracts on Tuesday. The price of Mexico's mostly heavy crude export mix has plunged to below $28 per barrel, down more than 70 percent since last year.
The onshore auction was designed to allow experienced Mexican oilfield service providers the opportunity to operate fields on their own, which is permitted under the reform. Continuación...