MEXICO CITY, July 6 (Reuters) – Mexico expects to launch four more oil and gas auctions before the current president’s term concludes in November 2018, Energy Minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said at a conference on Thursday.
The government had previously said three more tenders were planned, but Coldwell said a fourth would be a mix of fields including some deep water areas.
The tender could also include shallow water fields as well as gas-rich shale areas, he said.
A constitutional energy overhaul in 2013 paved the way for the auctions by ending the decades-long monopoly enjoyed by national oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, better known as Pemex.
A champion of the energy opening, President Enrique Pena Nieto was elected in 2012 to a six-year term and is by law prohibited from seeking reelection.
The front-runner to succeed Pena Nieto in Mexico’s 2018 election is Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a vocal opponent of the oil opening who could put a halt to future auctions.
Coldwell said bid terms for the next deep water oil auction should be published by the end of this month, with contracts awarded by early January.
An onshore oil auction covering 24 blocks will take place next week, following a shallow water tender last month.
(Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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