Since the 1930s, oil drilling operations in Mexico have been overseen by the government—eradicating competition and creating opportunities for only national companies to drive oil. This is bad for business. With new private ventures, competition can drive the very best in the industry and boost the Mexican economy.

Now that opportunity has arrived. For the first time in nearly 80 years, the Mexican government has opened its borders for private companies to come in and partner on oil-drilling projects with Mexican companies. Today, Sierra Oil & Gas, a Mexican company, is doing just that via a new partnership with U.S.-based Talos Energy and U.K.-based Premiere Oil.

Together, these three companies have begun an oil project near the Mexican state of Tabasco, in the Sureste Basin—where rich fields are estimated to produce up to 500 million barrels of crude oil, if successful.

The oil-drilling venture, funded by Premiere Oil, is estimated at $16 million. Sierra Oil & Gas has 40 percent ownership in the project, followed by Talos at 35 percent and Premiere at 25 percent. The joint project could produce between 100 and 500 million crude oil barrels by the end of the venture. Estimates from start to finish are 90 days, and considering the project kicked off at what is known as the Zama-1 oil site in late May – the project is on target to drill and extract at the lowest estimate 100 million barrels of crude and at the highest, 500 million.

Talos Energy has been thrilled to part of this landmark project in Mexico because it will drive competition in the global market and boost the incentives for all parties involved. With years of experience in the oil industry, Talos founder Tim Duncan says that the private partnership opens new, never-known opportunities throughout Mexico. Before founding Talos in 2012, Duncan founded two oil-drilling companies with operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Today, Talos has 120 employees on site in Mexico to oversee operations in the field while another 60 head up operations in their Houston-based headquarters.

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