Chevron, Baker Hughes to bid for Pemx rights

Chevron Corp. may return to Mexico 74 years after the Latin American nation seized its oil assets.

Chevron, Baker Hughes and Chile’s state-owned Enap Sipetrol SA plan to bid in an auction offered by Petroleos Mexicanos to develop offshore and onshore mature fields, the Mexican state company, known as Pemex, said today on its website.

These companies will join a previous list of 13 groups seeking to qualify as final bidders for production contracts.

In 1938, Mexico’s President Lazaro Cardenas seized the assets of companies that later became Chevron and Exxon Mobil Corp. The move prompted embargos from the U.S. and the U.K. that were later lifted. For the past seven decades, the second-largest economy in Latin America has had state ownership and a monopoly on crude exploration and production.

On June 19, Pemex will auction its second tranche of blocks to develop the aging fields Altamira, Arenque, Atun, Panuco, San Andres and Tierra Blanca. The areas contain reserves of 223 million barrels of crude oil equivalent, Pemex has said.

Kurt Glaubitz, a Chevron spokesman at company headquarters in Sam Ramon, California, didn’t have an immediate comment on the Mexican contracts.

Last year Mexico held an initial round of performance-based contracts that allowed private crude producers access to projects for the first time since the nationalization.

Pemex, the world’s third-largest oil producer, is seeking partners to help it maximize reserves in older fields and explore in deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico, where it estimates it may have 30 billion barrels of oil.

Petrofac won the rights to operate two fields and Schlumberger won another development in the first round.

Schlumberger, Petrofac, Halliburton Co. and Repsol YPF SA are also planning to bid for fields in the second round.