Mexico’s Ministry of Energy (SENER) has selected state-owned petroleum company Pemex to operate the Zama offshore oil field.

Located in Block 7 of the Sureste Basin off the shore of Mexico, the Zama field was discovered in 2017 by private consortium comprising Talos Energy. It is estimated to hold approximately 700 million barrels of oil.

Subsequently, Talos and its partners Premier Oil and Wintershall Dea drilled three additional wells as part of the field delineation.

The shared reservoir extends to neighbouring Pemex-operated AE-0152-Uchukil Asignación in the Cuencas del Sureste, in the Bay of Campeche in Mexico.

This triggered unitisation talks between Pemex and Talos on how to share the Zama field.

In May 2021, Talos Energy said it was in the process of finalising terms of a unitisation and unit operating agreement (UUOA) to address initial tract participating interest splits, among other aspects related to the field.

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Talos and its partners also submitted a field development plan to the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) earlier.

Referring to the latest move by SENER, Talos said in a statement: “After six years of significant investments in Zama and the Mexican economy, as well as the delivery of a Zama development plan that is credible and in line with the objectives of Mexico, Talos is very disappointed with SENER’s sudden decision to award operatorship to Pemex, especially in light of the timing under which the award occurred.”

According to estimates, the Zama oil field contains P90 (high) and P10 (best) gross reserves, ranging from 1.4 to two billion barrels of oil equivalent.