© Reuters. Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim holds a news conference in Mexico City, Mexico February 12, 2024. REUTERS/Henry Romero
By Valentine Hilaire
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim wants to increase his investments in the oil sector, particularly in the American company Talos Energy (NYSE:), after the billionaire businessman took a stake last year in a large offshore project discovered by Talos.
Speaking at a news conference, Mexico’s richest person said he wants to expand his company’s presence in the oil and gas industry beyond providing petroleum services, including d possible petrochemical projects.
Slim said increasing his stake in Talos’ Mexican subsidiary would depend on other, unspecified factors. He said he was particularly interested in potential investments in Houston-based Talos’ overall portfolio.
“It depends on the conditions,” he said, referring to a possible increase in the stake of his holding company Grupo Carso in the local Talos unit. “But definitely. Investing in the parent company… interests us.
“We want to partner with someone with experience,” added Slim, whose business empire spans from telecommunications to mining to retail.
Talos discovered the Zama oil field in Mexican territorial waters in the Gulf of Mexico in 2017, but then lost the rights to exploit the potentially lucrative discovery to state oil company Pemex, which owns the rights to an adjacent area where Zama probably extends. The Zama oil field, believed to contain approximately 735 million barrels of oil, is essentially Talos Mexico’s only project.
Last September, Talos completed a $125 million transaction with Grupo Carso that involved the sale of 49.9% of its Talos Mexico subsidiary.
At the time, Talos CEO Tim Duncan highlighted that 2024 would be “a big year for this asset,” citing progress in engineering design.
For more than a decade, Slim’s oil and gas business has primarily focused on providing services, such as leasing drilling rigs and deepwater platforms.
“We are not only helping in drilling services, but we are also involved in the oil sector,” he said, suggesting an ambition to eventually move into crude production and marketing.
Slim said he currently owns about 22% of all of Talos.
Zama’s operator and main shareholder is Pemex, with a 50.4% stake, while Talos and Carso hold 17.4%. Germany’s Wintershall Dea holds a further 19.8% and Britain’s Harbor Energy the remaining 12.4%.
Last week, Mexico’s oil regulator approved a request from Pemex to modify Zama’s development plan. Pemex had sought to cut the budget from more than $1.24 billion to just under $70 million and delay some related infrastructure projects.
Zama is expected to eventually pump up to 190,000 barrels per day of medium crude and associated gas.