Oil company Talos Energy has completed the sale of a 49.9% equity stake in its subsidiary, Talos Mexico, to Zamajal, a subsidiary of Grupo Carso, a conglomerate controlled by the family of Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú.
Talos received US$74.8 million in cash upon closing the transaction and is set to receive an additional US$49.9 million upon the start of oil production, bringing the total price to US$124.7 million, as announced by the US oil company in a press release.
Talos México will maintain a 17.4% interest in the offshore Zama field, which it shares with the state-owned company PEMEX. The NOC will oversee the operation of the deposit following years of disputes with the US company led by Timothy Duncan.
PEMEX and the private consortium led by Talos are planning to invest US$9 billion in the Zama's field development, with production slated to begin in 2025, reaching its peak of 180,000 b/d by 2029.
However, certain issues are still pending resolution, such as operatorship, commercial terms and redetermination. Talos and its partners, Harbour Energy and Wintershall DEA, are best positioned for the initial development of the project, given PEMEX limited experience in building the infrastructure in a water depth of 165m.
Moreover, a renegotiation of the commercial licenses is necessary, with Talos having a production-sharing contract with cost recovery, while PEMEX's license does not.
Additionally, an evaluation of well and production data is essential to determine relative ownership of the reservoir, along with the commercial terms for the use of PEMEX's existing pipeline and gas processing infrastructure, according to George Baker, Managing Principal, Baker & Associates.
According to analysts sourced by MBN, “regulatory inexperience” and the government’s current “PEMEX-centric vision” have contributed to the underdevelopment of the Zama field.
Similarly, a former country manager of a Mexican oil company who wished to remain anonymous tells EINNews that “the opportunity cost to the State from foregone royalty payments has been in the hundreds of millions of dollars — and counting. The cost to Talos and its partners is also hundreds of millions of dollars both in sunk costs and delayed income.”