Harbour Energy to keep its stake in Mexico’s Zama oilfield

Elena Mazneva March 18, 2021
Talos Energy holds a 35% stake in the Zama field.
Talos Energy holds a 35% stake in the Zama field.

MEXICO CITY (Bloomberg) --A new company soon to be created by Chrysaor Holdings Ltd and Premier Oil Plc will likely retain its stake in the giant Zama oil development in Mexico, reversing an earlier decision by the indebted North Sea driller to exit the project.

Premier began trying to sell its 25% stake in the Zama field, the biggest new oil find in Mexico made by a private company in decades, in 2019. Since then, both a dispute over who should operate the development and a proposed reverse takeover deal with Chrysaor, which hasn’t yet disclosed its plans for Premier’s projects, has stalled progress.

With the takeover expected to complete by the end of March, Premier will start trading under its new name, Harbour Energy Plc, on April 1. The new company will be able to continue developing the Zama field, Premier Chief Financial Officer Richard Rose said.

“They like Zama, and I fully anticipate that they will look to retain it and develop,” he said.

Chrysaor declined to comment. However the company said in October that Premier’s reverse takeover plans will expand its global footprint, including in Latin America.

The Zama deposit, found in 2017 and operated by Talos Energy Inc., extends into a license block held by the Mexico’s state-run energy firm Petroleos Mexicanos.

In December, Mexico extended a deadline for a group led by Talos to reach an agreement with Pemex over ownership of the Zama discovery. The companies have until March 25 to agree, or Mexico’s Energy Ministry will make a decision on their behalf.

Rose said the so-called unitization process at Zama “is coming to a conclusion,” and a new operating agreement could be finalized in the next few weeks.

Talos, which has a 35% stake in a block where Zama is located and is in a consortium with Premier and Wintershall Dea GmbH, said earlier this month that talks have been making progress as the deadline looms. It expects to reach a final investment decision for the shallow water, oil-rich block by end of this year.

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