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Fight for big oil's money

Reuters
Saturday, October 28, 2017

HOUSTON/Rio De Janeiro - Brazil and Mexico are competing for a diminishing resource: the investment dollars of oil majors beating a retreat from the big-ticket offshore projects they once coveted.

After two waves of resource nationalism that left few openings in Latin America for energy giants such as Exxon Mobil Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Total, the tables are turning.

Governments throughout the continent are enacting reforms and changing contract terms to lure oil firms that have slashed spending as they adapt to lower crude prices. Global policy changes to address climate change have given an added sense of urgency to governments in the region and worldwide that are sitting on oil and gas reserves. They want to pump it before it becomes less valuable.

The competition pits Brazil's high-cost but prolific deepwater reserves against lower-cost oilfields in Mexico that come with a larger dose of political risk.

"Both are attractive. Both have real potential," said Wael Sawan, Shell's executive vice president for deepwater.

"We have as a company, I think as an industry, scarce capital resources to be able to make the investments that the particular projects in deep water require."








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