US energy giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron are among the 21 companies that have registered to bid for Mexico’s fourth phase of maiden offshore oil blocks auction –estimated to contain 4b boe in reserves– alongside European biggies Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Statoil and TOTAL, BidnessETC reported.

The companies had applied to bid for 10 deepwater exploration blocks 6 in the Salina basin of the Gulf of Mexico and 4 in the Perdido belt– covering a total of 8,250km and at depths ranging from 500 to 3,000 meters, as Mexico looks set to welcome private producers to drill in its waters for the first time in more than 75 years.

Latin America’s No. 2 economy is hoping to mop up investments up to $44b through all phases of the auction by luring multinationals like Exxon Mobil and Chevron to explore oil and gas in the country, Zacks wrote.