Mexico’s independent oil regulator approved deepwater energy exploration plans for five areas operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc in Mexican waters near the maritime border with the United States.
The plans commit the Anglo-Dutch oil major to invest at least $400 million over the next four years, but if the drilling proves successful it could grow to some $1.345 billion, according to the regulator, known as the National Hydrocarbons Commission, or CNH.
Four of the areas are located in the Perdido Fold Basin, where significant oil and gas activity exists on the U.S. side, as well as one area further south in the Salina Basin.
The four wells planned in areas during the exploration phase of the contracts.
The plans also account for the possibility of as many as eight, with drilling to begin in fourth quarter of this year and extend it through late 2022.
Shell won exploration and production rights to nine deepwater blocks in the Gulf of Mexico at an auction run by the CNH in early 2018.
The remaining drilling plans for four deepwater blocks from the company are expect to present shortly, CNH Commissioner Sergio Pimentel say, without specifying the date in a session broadcast online.