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Low oil prices have Mexico considering a delay in the bidding of some exploration contracts

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MEXICO CITY — Mexico's finance secretary says plunging oil prices may delay bidding on some oil and gas exploration and production contracts.

Luis Videgaray said in a radio interview Thursday it is likely bidding will be delayed for so-called unconventional exploration projects, such as shale deposits that are more challenging in terms of access or technology.

As part of historic energy reforms allowing foreign investment in exploration and production, Mexico began a bidding process in December called Round One that plans contracts for 169 zones, including some that would be unconventional.

Global oil prices have plummeted, including Mexican crude, which stood at $38.52 a barrel Thursday. Such low prices make more costly exploration and production projects less attractive.

The first piece of Round One bidding was for 14 shallow water areas.

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