Mexico’s oil regulator National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has approved the drilling plans for five offshore projects.

The projects have a total investment commitment of $380m, Reuters reported.

One of these projects is a shallow water block operated by Talos Energy, with a $251m investment commitment.

Since 2015, the country’s oil regulator gave approvals for more than 100 oil and gas projects. CNH has so far approved the drilling of 23 exploration wells for next year.

Mexico City-based oil analyst Gonzalo Monroy was quoted by the news agency as saying: “These exploration plans are basically the bet that the international market has made on the potential of these projects.”

Talos and its partners, including UK’s Premier Oil and Mexico’s Sierra Oil & Gas, are expected to drill at least one new well in January 2019 as part of the Area 7 contract.

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“These exploration plans are basically the bet that the international market has made on the potential of these projects.”

The drilling programme will be carried out next to the Zama discovery made last year. The consortium will also drill a second ‘contingent’ well.

Talos has awarded a contract to McDermott International to provide design work and engineering services for the Zama project.

McDermott is set to execute the contract with IO oil & gas consulting, a joint venture between McDermott and Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE).

Other companies that won approvals for drilling plans include Russia’s Lukoil and Italy’s Eni.

Lukoil is planning to drill its Otomi-Oeste well between next September and November. The company is also set to incur an expenditure of $72m on its Area 12 block next year.

Eni is looking to drill its Saasken-1 well in its Area 10 block with a planned $51m investment next year. The company will also invest $5m in the Area 14 block.

Meanwhile, the regulator also approved a plan submitted by Spanish firm Repsol for its Area 11 block.