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Shell to invest at least $397 million in Mexican deepwater oil projects

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Shell to invest at least $397 million in Mexican deepwater oil projects
FILE PHOTO: Staff members work at the booth of Royal Dutch Shell at Gastech, the world's biggest expo for the gas industry, in Chiba, Japan, April 4, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai   -   Copyright  Toru Hanai(Reuters)
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MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s independent oil regulator on Tuesday approved deepwater exploration plans for five areas operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc in Mexican waters near the U.S. maritime border.

The plans commit the Anglo-Dutch oil major to invest at least $397 million (£312 million) over the next four years, but if the drilling proves successful it could grow to some $1.3 billion, according to the regulator, known as the National Hydrocarbons Commission, or CNH.

Shell won exploration and production rights to nine deepwater blocks in the Gulf of Mexico at an auction run by the CNH early last year.

Drilling plans for the remaining four deepwater blocks from the company are expected to be presented shortly, CNH Commissioner Sergio Pimentel said, without specifying the date, at a session broadcast online.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Richard Chang)

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