The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) recently published guidelines on the use of information stored at the National Hydrocarbons Information Centre in the Federal Register. The guidelines apply to geological, geophysical, petrophysical, petrochemical and general data and information obtained from recognition and superficial exploration activities, as well as exploration and extraction activities, which are available at the centre. The guidelines do not apply to data obtained under so-called 'ARES' authorisations, granted pursuant to the General Administrative Provisions on Authorisations for Hydrocarbons Recognition and Superficial Exploration.

The data available at the centre may be used by any interested party, subject to conclusion of a licence agreement with the CNH. The licence will remain effective for a maximum term of 25 years, renewable for five additional years. However, exploration and production contractors and allocation holders will be entitled to use the data resulting from their activities up to the term of the relevant contracts and allocation titles, subject to conclusion of a licence agreement with the CNH.

While licensees are not entitled to market the data under the relevant licence, they will be entitled to share the data with third parties (eg, prospective partners, consultants, processors and partners) which have entered into a non-disclosure agreement under the terms provided by the CNH. The confidentiality obligations and use rights set out under the relevant licence also apply to employees of the relevant licensee, its related parties, service providers and other third parties duly authorised to access the data.

The guidelines also provide that in order to obtain a licence, interested parties must pay a fee for the relevant data. The guidelines contemplate a set of formulae to determine the applicable fee depending on the type and amount of the requested data. In this regard, the CNH will publish on its website a catalogue of the data that is available at the centre.

Although the guidelines are now in force, the CNH has yet to publish the model licences and non-disclosure agreements on its website.

For further information on this topic please contact Rogelio López-Velarde, Amanda Valdez, Daniela Monroy or Diego Campa at López Velarde, Heftye y Soria by telephone (+52 55 3685 3334) or email (rlopezv@lvhs.com.mx, avaldez@lvhs.com.mx, dmonroy@lvhs.com.mx or dcampa@lvhs.com.mx). The López Velarde, Heftye y Soria website can be accessed at www.lvhs.com.mx.

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