Pemex, Statoil sign cooperation agreement

Mexico City, May 3 (EFE).- Mexican state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said Friday it has signed a five-year cooperation agreement with Norway's Statoil covering the areas of research, technical, scientific and technological development and training.

"This non-commercial agreement ... will promote collaboration in areas of mutual interest, without implying any provision of service," Pemex said in a statement.

The deal was signed by Carlos Morales Gil, director of Pemex's exploration and production unit, and Statoil's vice president of strategy and portfolio, Helge Haldorsen.

The accord "renews cooperation relations between the two companies and is aimed at enriching the value chain in terms of hydrocarbon exploration, drilling, production, transportation and storage."

Pemex, the world's fifth-largest oil company by output and 13th largest in terms of reserves, accounts for roughly 40 percent of Mexico's national budget.

That tax burden could be lowered, however, if a proposed oil-sector overhaul to be presented this year by President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration passes Congress.

Due to be presented in the second half of 2013, the bill is expected to seek to keep ownership and control over hydrocarbon reserves in the hands of the state but also encourage private investment in some of Pemex's operations.