>> With oil prices nearly halved in recent years, countries like oil reserves like Brazil and Mexico are competing for foreign investments. Years of nationalization in Latin American countries has shut out for energy giants such as Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total. But now the tables are turning.
Reuters editor Simon Webb is in Rio De Janeiro.>> Brazil and Mexico are locked in a competition to attract billion of dollars investment from oil majors into their energy sectors. Both countries have enacted reforms and thrown open their deep-water and off-shore reserves to international energy companies. And now are seeking to attract as much investment as they can, as quickly as they can to develop them.
It's difficult time though for oil mergers in the past few years, they've seen oil prices half. They've fallen to around %50 a barrel. And so they've cut back on spending and don't have the kind of deep pockets that they had, to developed these kind of reserves in the past.
>> For Big Oil, both Mexico and Brazil have great economic potential, but they also come with big risks.>> The biggest difference between Mexico and Brazil for the oil majors is that they know Brazil. They've been in Brazil for decades, they've worked offshore in the deep water, they've worked in the shallower water.
And they have a knowledge of the country in the sector that they just don't have in Mexico.>> Mexico also has an election coming up in 2018, and could vote in a president who opposes energy reforms, and souring relations between the US and Mexico could also scare away potential foreign investors.
As the competition heats up, Mexico is auctioning off an estimated 4.2 billion barrels of prospective oil by the end of January. And Brazil's next auction on Friday, is expected to attract several aggressive bids.