CANCUN, Mexico, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Mexico will seek joint ventures for state oil company Pemex at the same time it invites bidding from companies on oil fields during a historic opening of the industry to private investment, the government said on Friday.
Detailing a road map for investment since Congress finalized a reform of the industry in August, the energy ministry said the first contracts would be awarded next May, earlier than the third-quarter target previously envisioned.
That would happen in tandem with initial joint ventures, the first of which had been set for the first quarter of 2015, officials said at a conference in the beach resort of Cancun.
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s reform ends Pemex’s 75-year monopoly and paves the way for a Round One tender as well as first-ever joint venture between Pemex and private companies.
The tender and an initial 10 “farm-outs,” or joint ventures with Pemex cover a total of about 29,000 square km (11,200 square miles) and nearly 20 billion barrels of oil equivalent.
“Round One will present both (fields) that are in the hands of the state and Pemex farm-outs,” the deputy energy minister for hydrocarbons, Lourdes Melgar, said at the event attended by executives of companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Round One will bid out 169 fields, including 60 already in production, spanning unconventional, or non-traditional, production areas along the U.S.-Mexico border, shallow and deepwater projects.
“We believe if you put those thing together, (the companies) will be able to make a better investment decision,” said Juan Carlos Zepeda, president of the National Hydrocarbons Commission, the newly beefed-up oil sector regulator.
Round One plus the 10 joint ventures with Pemex is expected to generate about $50 billion in new investment by 2018.
Publication of the calls for bids will start in November for the first shallow-water projects and Pemex joint ventures, with so-called data rooms containing geological information for the projects opening in January.
Calls for bids on deepwater areas will be disclosed in March with corresponding data rooms open by May.
Zepeda said “virtual” data rooms will also be accessible online, noting that more general oil and gas basin data will be released next month.
The first shallow-water contracts will be awarded in May.
Fiscal terms of the new contracts created by the reform - production and profit-sharing contracts as well as licenses - will vary by contract. All will include corporate income tax, surface rent, state and municipal taxes and a variable royalty.
Variables used to determine contract winners will be set out in each contract and focus on the total government take in the form of taxes and royalties, plus investment commitments.
The government has pledged new transparency measures requiring that contracts and all payments be made public as well as rules stipulating that at least two National Hyrdocarbons commissioners be present at meetings between regulators and companies. (Editing by Dave Graham and Jonathan Oatis)