Pemex Seeks New Cooperation Deals with Exxon, Total

MEXICO CITY Oct. 12, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswire)

Petroleos Mexicanos hopes to strike new cooperation agreements with foreign oil majors, including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Total (TOT), a company executive said.

Pemex, as the state-run oil monopoly is known, has been signing so-called cooperation pacts with foreign oil firms to train staff in areas where Pemex lacks expertise, such as deepwater drilling and marginal oil fields.

"We're talking with Exxon and obviously we foresee agreements with Total of France and Saudi Aramco, with whom we have a lot of synergies," Pemex Exploration and Production Director Carlos Morales Gil told a forum on Thursday, according to a transcript.

"The new agreements will happen toward the end of this year or the beginning of next year," he added.

He said Pemex currently has deals with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.LN) to share information on oil fields with low extraction rates; with Petrobras (PBR) to share information on deepwater drilling; and with BP (BP) on geological studies.

This week, Chevron Corp. (CVX) announced an agreement with Pemex to provide training for deepwater projects. Chevron is developing oil reserves in ultra-deep waters in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where Pemex hasn't even begun to explore in waters over 3,000 feet deep on its side of the maritime border.

Morales Gil said around 100 Pemex executives are involved in the various training programs, with 70 focusing on deepwater techniques.

Industry observers say that foreign oil majors are keen to sign cooperation agreements as a way to market their technologies to Pemex, hoping Mexico will eventually open its oil industry to joint-venture projects.

Mexico currently prohibits companies other than Pemex from developing the country's oil reserves.

Morales Gil said Pemex must find ways to collaborate with outside firms, especially in deepwater projects where Mexico estimates potential of 30 billion barrels of crude reserves.

"It's a utopia to do this kind of work alone. We need to find ways to collaborate and mechanisms to have agreements to access technology and resources in an efficient way," said Morales Gil.

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