OREANDA-NEWS. December 06, 2016.  Mexico awarded all four blocks in the Gulf of Mexico's Perdido Fold Belt, as bidding winds down for the remaining six blocks in a long-awaited deepwater auction that marked the debut of Mexico?s state-owned Pemex.

Two of the four awarded blocks went to China?s state-owned CNOOC. One went to a consortium comprised of Total and ExxonMobil and another to Chevron in a partnership with Pemex and Japan?s Inpex.

CNOOC secured Block 1 with an aggressive 17.01pc additional royalty offer, outbidding Pemex with a distant 6.65pc offer. The Chinese firm also prevailed on Block 4 with a sole royalty offer of 15.01pc.

The minimum additional royalty for the two blocks had previously been set by Mexico's finance secretary at 3.1pc. Both blocks won by CNOOC are expected to hold mostly extra light oil.

Block 2 went to Total in a consortium with ExxonMobil, the sole bidder, with a 5pc additional royalty offer.

Chevron, Pemex and Inpex won Block 3 with another sole offer of 7.44pc.

According to Mexican official reserves data, Blocks 2 and 3 mostly hold light oil.

The opening of offers for the other six blocks, located in the Salina basin in the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico, is currently underway with most already awarded.

The 10 blocks hold total reserves of 10.6bn of oil equivalent (boe) and are widely seen as the crown jewel of a staggered bidding round, launched soon after a 2014 energy reform ended Pemex's upstream monopoly. Pemex had stayed on the sidelines of three previous upstream tenders which were focused on shallow-water and onshore acreage.

The auction is crucial to help Mexico reverse a decade-long decline in domestic crude production. Since reaching a peak at 3.4mn b/d in 2004, Pemex has seen production fall by more than 1mn b/d, reaching 2.103mn b/d in October.

Earlier today, Mexico awarded Pemex's first-ever farm-out with the private sector to Australia's BHP Billiton for two blocks encompassing the Trion deepwater discovery, also located in the Perdido Fold Belt.