Mexican state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos said it would identify priority blocks and regions for exploration and production activity under the country's new regulatory framework before March 21.

This preferential option for Pemex, a process known as "round zero," allows the company to determine the blocks it wants to reserve for itself on the basis of its "financial ability" to develop them and Pemex's "competitive advantages," among other factors, Pemex CFO Mario Alberto Beauregard said Thursday.

He added that the Energy Secretariat would review Pemex's proposals over a period of 180 days from the date they are submitted.

Those are the timeframes established in the energy overhaul that went into effect in December of last year.

Under the new regulatory framework, Pemex will be able to operate fields in partnerships with other companies or bid alone for new fields that are put up for auction.

The overhaul ends Pemex's monopoly on oil and gas production, in place since the company was created in 1938 as part of then-President Lazaro Cardenas nationalization of the energy industry. EFE