France's Total wins three blocks in Mexico oil auction


Mexico City (AFP)

French company Total has won three blocks in Mexico's last auction of oil and gas areas before the country holds presidential elections in July.

The three blocks are located in the Gulf of Mexico -- two of them were awarded in partnership with state oil company Pemex and another with Britain's BP and Pan American.

"This completes our positions in the deep and shallow waters of the Perdido and Salinas basins and strengthens Total's presence in Mexico with seven blocks, three as operator," a spokesman for the company said Wednesday.

Total, which has sold lubricants in Mexico since 1982, in January opened the first of 250 gas stations planned for the country, joining BP and other oil giants in a fight for the recently opened fuel market.

In Tuesday's auction, 16 of 35 oil fields were awarded, whose development is expected to generate $8.262 billion, according to the Mexican government.

Others winners besides Total included Anglo-Dutch oil company Shell, Spain's Repsol and Italy's ENI.

In 2013, Mexico approved a constitutional reform that for the first time in more than seven decades ended Pemex's monopoly on the country's energy sector, which encompassed everything from exploration and production to refining and sales.

The next auction will be held weeks after the July 1 presidential election, in which leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who opposes opening the industry to outsiders, has a lead in opinion polls.