On January 19, 2012, Pemex Exploration & Production launched an international bidding round for exploration and production (E&P) contracts in mature fields in the northern region of the Gulf of Mexico. Pemex will award six E&P contracts covering the offshore areas (shallow waters) of Arenque and Atun and the onshore areas of Altamira, Panuco, San Andres and Tierra Blanca located in southern Tamaulipas and northern Veracruz.

This is the second bidding round launched by Pemex for awarding incentive-based "Integrated E&P Contracts" (IECs), which are a result of the 2008 Mexican energy reform. Pemex's objective is to attract new technologies, investment and best practices in order to increase hydrocarbon production in the contract areas. The bid terms specify that the duration of the contracts will be up to 30 years. Also, the bid terms specify that Pemex shall have a 10 percent participation interest in the contracts.

The bid terms may be consulted at www.pemex.com/contratos. A physical data room will be open in Veracruz, Mexico, from January 19, 2012 to April 27, 2012. The contracts are scheduled to be awarded on June 19, 2012.

For an analysis of the Pemex bidding rounds and IECs, see Mayer Brown's article "Upstream Opportunities in Mexico: Bidding Rounds and New Contracts."