On July 20, 2016, the Mexican government, through the Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos (National Hydrocarbons Commission) ("CNH"), published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación (the Federal Official Gazette) the Bidding Guidelines in connection with a Tender Process for the Granting of Shallow Waters Oil and Gas Exploration and Extraction Production Sharing Agreements, addressed to domestic (including both private and productive state-owned enterprises) and foreign companies. The tender process is identified as CNH-R02-L01/2016 and additional information on this process is available at http://rondasmexico.gob.mx/r2-l01-bloques/.

This invitation to bid pertains to the bidding guidelines for Phase 1 of what is commonly known as "Round Two", pursuant to the five-year plan (2015-2019) prepared by the CNH regarding oil and gas exploration and extraction in Mexico and published by the Mexican Ministry of Energy in June 2015.

Phase 1 of Round Two comprises the auctioning of 15 shallow water areas in the Gulf of Mexico (namely, provinces known as Tampico-Misantla, Veracruz and Cuencas del Sureste). The specifics of each auction will be set forth in data rooms managed by the CNH, which will be open to participants beginning in August 2016.  Companies interested in participating in this process may have access to such information after paying the relevant fee to the CNH and registering.  Results will be announced in late March 2017.

This invitation to bid and the process itself are part of the historic reforms made by the Mexican government to open the oil and gas sector to private and foreign investment.

Special thanks to Gizeh Polo, Shearman & Sterling Visiting Attorney, for his assistance with this alert.

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