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Grupo Carso Acquires 50% Stake in Mexican Oil Fields

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Industrial Conglomerate Expands Presence in Upstream Energy Sector

Mexico City – Grupo Carso, the renowned industrial and retail conglomerate led by billionaire Carlos Slim, has announced its agreement to purchase a 50% stake in two Mexican oil fields. This move signifies Grupo Carso’s continued commitment to the country’s burgeoning upstream energy sector.

On Monday, Carso disclosed in a filing with the Mexican stock exchange that it will invest $530 million to acquire a unit of Mexico’s PetroBal. This unit currently owns a 50% stake in the Ichalkil and Pokoch fields, situated in the southern Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Campeche state.

The Ichalkil and Pokoch fields were secured by a consortium comprising Fieldwood Energy and PetroBal through a production-sharing contract awarded in a 2015 Mexican government auction. Lukoil, a Russian company, acquired Fieldwood Energy’s interest earlier this year.

As of now, the shallow-water fields are producing an average of 16,350 barrels of crude oil equivalent per day, according to Carso. PetroBal estimates that the reservoirs hold proven and probable reserves exceeding 500 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Carso’s energy portfolio encompasses various activities such as onshore and offshore platform manufacturing, drilling operations, and natural gas pipeline development. This recent acquisition further solidifies Carso’s presence in the upstream sector.

In September, Carso purchased a 49.9% stake in Talos Mexico, a subsidiary of Houston-based Talos Energy. Talos Energy owns a 17.4% interest in the Zama oilfield.

The Zama reservoir, discovered in 2017, is located adjacent to an oil block assigned to Mexico’s state oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex). Despite objections from Talos, the Energy Ministry named Pemex as the operator of the joint field in 2021, granting it management control over the project.

Currently, Pemex holds a 50.4% stake in Zama, with Germany’s Wintershall DEA owning 19.8% and the UK’s Harbour Energy holding 12.4%.

Auctioning of oil blocks by the Mexican government commenced following the overhaul of energy laws between 2013 and 2014, allowing private companies to engage in oil exploration and production. However, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador implemented a freeze on new oil auctions after assuming office in December 2018.

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