Malaysia's state-owned oil firm Petronas said that it has been awarded a shallow water block in the Gulf of Mexico’s Salina Basin, marking its third block in Mexico.

Its subsidiary PC Carigali Mexico Operations will operate the 559km2 Block 6 jointly with Colombian national oil company Ecopetrol through a 50:50 partnership.

Block 6 is located in water depths of between 30 and 80mts.

Petronas exploration, upstream vice president Emeliana Rice-Oxley said: “Mexico is largely underexplored and holds substantial material opportunities.

“We are very pleased to add Block 6 to our growing exploration portfolio in Mexico, and be one of the early movers in this basin. This is aligned with our strategy to explore for material oil in largely underexplored prospective regions.”

Petronas has now taken its gross acreage in the Salina Basin to 5,491km2. The company says that it will persist with its growth strategy in Mexico, backed up with a new office in Mexico City which is slated to begin operations from the third quarter.

In December 2016, Petronas won the rights for deep water Block 4 and Block 5 in the Salina Basin during Mexico’s maiden auction of its deep water exploration areas.

Block 4 is being operated by PC Carigali Mexico Operations along with Mexican firm Sierra Oil & Gas through a 50:50 partnership. It comprises an area of 2,600km2, and is located in water depths of between 800mts and 1,600mts.

On the other hand, Petronas holds a stake of 23.34% in Block 5 through its subsidiary Petronas Mexico. The 2,600km2 Block 5 will be operated by Texas-based Murphy Sur which holds a 30% stake.