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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Malaysian state energy firm Petronas said on Wednesday it has been awarded a shallow-water oil and gas exploration block that it will jointly operate with Colombia's Ecopetrol in the Mexican portion of the Gulf of Mexico.
Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, as it is usually known, has been awarded shallow-water Block 6 in the Gulf's Salina Basin, the company said in a statement.
The block will be operated in a 50-50 partnership with Colombian national oil company Ecopetrol, it said.
Last year, Petronas was awarded two deepwater blocks in separate joint venture partnerships participating in Mexico's first auction of deepwater exploration areas.
"This is aligned with our strategy to explore for material oil in largely underexplored prospective regions," said Emeliana Rice-Oxley, Petronas' vice president of exploration.
Petronas will set up a new office in Mexico City that will start operations in the third quarter, the company said.
Last week, Petronas scrapped a proposed C$36 billion ($29 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in western Canada due to weak prices, a blow to both its global ambitions and Canada's hopes of becoming a major LNG player.
$1 = 1.2566 Canadian dollars Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Tom Hogue