Cofece authorizes purchase of PetroBal subsidiary from Grupo Carso

The Federal Economic Competition Commission (Cofece) authorized the purchase of a PetroBal subsidiary by Grupo Carso for US$530 million.

This transaction involves the total acquisition of PetroBal’s interest in the Ichalkil and Pokoch oil fields.

Petrobal is a subsidiary of Grupo Bal, which in turn has businesses related to insurance, oil, mining, financial services, health care and department stores, among others. 

The Ichalkil and Pokoch oil fields are located off the coast of Campeche, Mexico.


On December 18, 2023, Grupo Carso, through its subsidiary Zamajal, signed a binding agreement with PetroBal, so that, once certain conditions were met, it would acquire 100% of the capital stock of its subsidiary PetroBal Operaciones Upstream.

Then, on January 31, 2024, Zamajal PetroBal and Energía Bal (the sellers) notified Cofece of their intention to carry out a concentration.


The energy reform outlined a multi-round process to open Mexico’s oil and petrochemical sector to public bidding and participation. 

As part of this process, on March 27, 2018, following the first bidding session of the Third Round, Pemex won seven of the 11 concession contracts it was seeking for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico awarded by the Ministry of Energy and the National Hydrocarbons Commission. 

The government estimated that it will receive between 72% and 78% of the profits from the concessions granted. 

As of December 2022, the government had received approximately $6.3 billion in profits from these public tenders. 

But on December 11, 2018, the National Hydrocarbons Commission announced the cancellation of the two remaining tenders of Round Three at the request of the Ministry of Energy, with the purpose of evaluating the results and progress of existing hydrocarbon exploration and extraction contracts derived from previous tenders.


In addition, on June 13, 2019, the government announced the suspension of bidding rounds for new third party allocations of oil, natural gas and mineral interests, or “farm-outs,” to provide an opportunity to evaluate the performance of existing farm-outs. 

Existing farm-outs will continue to operate in accordance with the terms and conditions of their respective contracts. 

The government will use the results of this evaluation to determine whether to pursue farm-outs in the future.