Mexico’s Pemex Leads E&P Investment Since 2013 Reform Opened Up Energy Sector

The state-owned oil company has invested almost $1.5 billion in the Ek-Balam offshore block since the reform allowed for more private participation in the country’s oil and gas sector

Pemex's La Muralla IV platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
April 27, 2023 | 12:33 PM

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Mexico City — Mexico’s state-owned Petróleos Mexicanos leads oil and gas exploration and production(E&P) investment in the country since the 2013 energy reform opened up the sector to more investment, according to the Mexican Petroleum Fund (FMP).

Mauricio Herrera Madariaga, administrative and executive coordinator of the fund, said Pemex has made investments of close to $1.5 billion in the Ek-Balam offshore block since 2015.

“The new fiscal regime granted by the energy reform allowed Pemex to inject more resources into those assignments that migrated to the contract scheme,” he said.

The reform to the Mexican Constitution introduced by former President Enrique Peña Nieto and approved by Congress in late 2013 ended a 75-year monopoly by Pemex and allowed private investment in the search and extraction of hydrocarbons in Mexican territory.

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Italian company Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI) is in second place in terms of investments, followed by Anglo-Argentine company Hokchi and US-based companies Fieldwood and Talos Energy.

Together, oil companies have invested $3.78 billion in developing oilfields in the country.

How much will Mexico receive from the Zama field?

Mexico will receive $31 billion in oil revenues from the Zama offshore field during its productive life, which will be operated by Pemex, the FMP representative.


The offshore field in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico would start producing barrels on a commercial basis in 2026 and would reach a peak production of 151,000 barrels of oil per day by 2032, Herrera said.

“This production amount of 611 million barrels would represent 5% of the country’s proven and probable reserves. So it is a significant amount,” he said.

Zama is considered Mexico’s 10th-largest shallow water discovery with proven plus probable reserves of 611 million barrels of crude oil equivalent.

The field was discovered by the consortium led by Talos Energy and its partners Premier Oil and Mexico’s Sierra Oil & Gas, now Wintershall Dea.


During the delimitation phase, the field extended into a Pemex area and a unitization process was initiated, which was defined by the Energy Ministry in favor of the Mexican state-owned company.

Talos sought the operation and even said that its consortium owned 60% of the resources, but another study by Pemex, prepared by Ryder Scott, concluded the majority would be for Pemex.

The FMP was created as part of the energy reform of former president Peña Nieto in 2013. Its objective is to guarantee that the money from oil and gas exploration and extraction is managed with maximum transparency and for the benefit of Mexicans.

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