Interview with Carlos Morales, CEO of PetroBAL

[This is a sneak preview that can also be found in our mini-book. For more information on the industry and the insiders’ perspective, order our Mexico Oil & Gas Review 2017]

Q: What was the significance of PetroBAL’s success in winning the Ichalkil and Pokoch blocks with Fieldwood in Round 1.2?

A: In our view Round 1.2 was the best round so far, from every angle. In fact, both Round 1.1 and 1.2 saw high-level bids from experienced companies such as Statoil, Sierra Oil & Gas, Talos Energy, Premier Oil, Eni and Renaissance. Looking at the bids, we were all more or less in the same range. Winning a block was a very exciting experience for us and the transparency with which CNH conducted the rounds made us feel secure about bidding. Some may think we should have submitted a lower bid in hindsight but the market set the bidding levels at the time. That was especially evident in Round 1.3, when the government bids were set at a much lower level than what the market offered in the end. Basically, we think the market is setting the bar for the bidding rounds.

Q: What made Fieldwood the right partner for PetroBAL?

A: Fieldwood is the largest private operator in the US Gulf of Mexico, with more than 600 production platforms. The Fieldwood management team has a long track record of operating for several companies so they bring a lot of experience to the table. Although PetroBAL has many experienced individuals, we lack the operational experience required by CNH for participation in the bidding rounds. Fieldwood has this experience, while PetroBAL has extensive geological knowledge of Mexico’s basins. These factors made our synergy with Fieldwood an excellent option.

Q: How can the authorities improve terms in the coming rounds and make things easier for interested companies?

A: We recognize that the government has to be careful when selecting the companies, it allows to participate in each bidding round. From our point of view financial credentials are important. A company cannot invest US$50 million in a well without the proper knowledge and financial backing.

For more articles on Mexico’s oil and gas industry, check out our blog here.


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