Talos Energy Building Bonds With Mexican Partners

Incoming Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is keen on a young, upstart wildcatter based in Houston — that would be Talos Energy founded in 2012 by CEO Timothy Duncan. Talos is now operating in Mexican waters in cooperation with Pemex and two other international partners.

Talos Energy was among the first foreign operators allowed into Mexican sovereign territory in some 80 years. Mexico nationalized its oil industry in 1938, but a long-standing slump in production and income from oil-based resources has prompted a new approach.

Talos Energy, working with Britain’s Premier Oil and Sierra Oil & Gas, a Latin American entity, dropped a shallow-water well off Mexico’s Tabasco coast in 2017. The well was dubbed the ZAMA-1. It appears to have been a significant find. Estimates are that ZAMA may harbor up to two billion barrels of crude oil equivalent. Talos Energy will enjoy a 30% share in the project. It may deliver as much as 100,000 to 150,000 barrels per day by 2023.

Talos CEO Tim Duncan recently met with a group that included President-Elect Obrador as a deeper and more involved partnership develops between the American company and the Mexican state-owned Pemex. Obrador expressed great enthusiasm in working with Talos — a feeling which is mutual. Duncan says he shares the “urgency” Mexican officials hold over kick-starting that country’s underperforming energy exploration industry.

Pemex plans to drop another well in the block adjacent to ZAMA-1 with solid expectations that more oil will be found. An appraisal plan for the cooperative project between Pemex and Talos was approved by Mexican authorities in September.

Brining the ZAMA and adjacent wells online as quickly as possible carries a certain sense of urgency since industry analysts have widely predicted a looming oil shortage in perhaps five to seven years — largely due to expected sanctions on Iran. Pumping 150,000 barrels a day from ZAMA and other shallow-water Gulf strikes would be timely and welcome.

Talos Energy is aggressively pursuing numerous other sites across Gulf of Mexico waters, boldly going where many other oil exploration firms today are unwilling to go.

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