By Marianna Parraga (Reuters)
A pipeline network with spare capacity could allow Mexico to export oil and gas from its flagship offshore Trion project to the United States, the head of Mexico's oil regulator said on Thursday.
The deep water Trion development, with prospective reserves of almost 500 million barrels of oil, was farmed out in December by state-run Pemex to Australia's BHP Billiton, which became the operator of the $11 billion project.
The ailing Mexican oil company, which kept a 40-percent stake, jointly shares for the first time the risks and rewards of a potentially lucrative project with a private producer.
Although a development plan has yet to be submitted, the consortium could use a cheaper and quicker option of getting production to the United States by using pipelines that serve the neighboring Great White field on the U.S. side of the Gulf of Mexico, Juan Carlos Zepeda, head of the national hydrocarbons commission (CNH), said on the sidelines of CERAWeek energy conference in Houston.
The Great White field, operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc and Chevron Corp, is producing around 70,000 barrels per day (bpd), leaving 50 percent available capacity in a crude line and a gas line connected to the United States, Zepeda said.