Mexico’s Pemex and Talos-led consortium hand over Zama development plan to regulator

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by Reuters

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Mexico’s Pemex and Talos-led consortium hand over Zama development plan to regulator

MEXICO CITY, March 23 (Reuters) - Mexican state oil company Pemex and a consortium led by U.S. firm Talos Energy (TALO.N) delivered a development plan for the Zama oil field to Mexico's oil regulator on Thursday, Pemex said.

The plan includes two offshore platforms and the drilling of 46 wells, as well as the transportation of oil and gas to the Pemex-run terminal Dos Bocas, in the gulf state of Tabasco, the state company said.

Pemex and the consortium, which includes Harbor Energy (HBR.L) and Wintershall Dea, share development of the 850-million-barrel field.

Zama is thought to be one of the largest oilfield discoveries by private companies in the world, but has become a contention point under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's efforts to strengthen state control of energy matters.

Mexico's energy reform under former President Enrique Pena Nieto increased private companies' power in the sector, however, Lopez Obrador suspended bidding for oil-field concessions upon entering office in 2018.

Zama will be tapped to reach production of up to 180,000 barrels of oil, with an API between 24 and 27, a day, Pemex said.

"Excellent-quality oil will make up 94% of hydrocarbon production," it added.

The oil company did not specify when the drilling would begin or how much would be invested in the project.

Talos and the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Thursday was the deadline for the plan's submission. Pemex and the Talos-led consortium had been tied up in a years-long dispute over the field's development, and the Mexican and U.S. governments stepped in to mediate.

Talos had requested to operate Zama, but Mexico's energy ministry assigned operations to Pemex after the two failed to reach an agreement.

Pemex CEO Octavio Romero said last year the company was willing to invest billions of dollars in Zama once Talos agreed to let Pemex operate the field.

Pemex is one of the most heavily indebted oil companies in the world, standing around $107 billion with amortizations of $8.2 billion on bonds and long-term credit lines alone up this year.

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