Australia based BHP Billiton and PEMEX Exploration & Production Mexico (Pemex) have agreed to jointly pursue deep-water TriĆ³n discovery, offshore Mexico.

In December last year, the Australian firm had successfully bid to acquire 60% participating stake in and operatorship of the AE-0092 and AE-0093 blocks containing the Trion discovery in the Gulf of Mexico waters.

The Mexico state-owned oil company, Pemex holds the remainder 40% stake in the blocks where it estimates the gross recoverable oil resource to be 485 MMboe.

BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie called the partnership an historic moment for Mexico and the start of a new chapter in business relations between the Australian firm and Pemex.

Mackenzie added: “It is an honour to be the first foreign company to partner with the people of Mexico in developing their significant petroleum resources for mutual benefit.”

The agreement between Pemex and BHP include a commitment to drill an appraisal well, one exploration well as well as the acquisition of additional seismic data as part of a Minimum Work Program.

BHP had bid $62.4m in upfront cash payment for the Trion project besides making a commitment of about $320m to the Minimum Work Program.

Pemex CEO José Antonio González Anaya said: “This agreement constitutes a parting of the waters in the history of PEMEX. For the first time, an area assigned during the Round Zero auction, will be progressed in partnership with a world leading company.”

As per the terms, should the partners decide to advance the project beyond the Minimum Work Program, then the Australian firm will have to invest remainder of the $570m minimum contribution which is inclusive of the expenditure on Minimum Work.

Last month, BHP’s investment of $2.2bn in the Gulf of Mexico’s Mad Dog Phase 2 crude oil project was approved by the company’s board.

Image: Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto with BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie and PEMEX CEO José Antonio González Anaya. Photo: courtesy of BHP Billiton.