By Rebekah Ward
MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s oil regulator on Tuesday approved a $97 million (£76.4 million) plan for drilling in an offshore area operated by British supermajor BP in the southern Gulf of Mexico.
The four-year exploration plan approved by the national hydrocarbons commission (CNH) covers a 700,000 square kilometre shallow water block, located north of the coast of Tabasco state.
BP won the rights to drill last June, along with its partner French oil major Total.
BP’s contract is one of over 100 awarded since a sweeping energy reform was finalised in 2014, championed by Mexico’s previous government in a bid to reverse years of declining crude production. The current government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has suspended all future auctions, favouring instead a larger role for national oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex.
(Reporting by Rebekah F Ward; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Leslie Adler)