Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. Image courtesy of Edgar Alberto Domínguez Cataño/Wikimedia Commons.

Mexico’s first ever offering of oil and gas blocks to private and foreign investors fizzled this week after upsteams scooped up only a fraction of the available permits.

According to Reuters, only two of the fourteen blocks offered during the first phase of bidding on Wednesday were picked up.

Shallow water Block 2 and Block 7 were both awarded to a consortium made up of operator Houston-based Talos Energy with a 45 percent stake, Mexico-based Sierra Oil & Gas with a 45 percent stake and UK-based Premier Oil with a 10 percent stake.

“The forward plan is to acquire, evaluate and reprocess 3D seismic data with a view to firming up drilling locations towards the end of 2016,” Premier Oil said.

The other blocks didn’t receive any bids, or at least any offers that were cleared by Mexico’s finance ministry, Reuters added.

“Without doubt, the start of round one didn’t have the momentum we were hoping for,” Juan Carlos Zepeda, president of Mexico’s oil regulator told the wire service.

Blocks that weren’t bid on can be offered again at a later date.

The auction marks the first time private and foreign investors have been allowed to enter Mexico’s oil and gas sector.

In August, the Mexican Congress passed sweeping reforms to open up the country’s oil and gas industry to private investment.

The reforms ended the 75-year monopoly held by Mexico’s state-owned Pemex and was the center piece of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s agenda.


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