On March 12, 2019, the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) approved in its 16th Extraordinary Session, amendments to the Guidelines that regulate the procedure to submit, approve and supervise the compliance of the Exploration and Development Plans for the extraction of hydrocarbons and its amendments (the Guidelines).

Below, please find the main highlights:

     1. Optimization of Approval Processes.

Approval Process of:Current max. legal period*New max-legal period*
Plans120 calendar days + 35 business days85 calendar days
Plans’ amendments120 calendar day + 35 business days35 business days
Appraisal and Pilot Programs3 months**/legal period provided by the E&P Contract40 business days
Appraisal and Pilots Programs3 months **35 business days
Annual Programs and Budgetslegal period provided by to the E&P Contract20 business days
Amendments to the Annual Programs and Budgets3 months **14 business days
Transition ProgramBefore signing the E&P Contract30 business days

*Maximum legal period

**Legal period regulated by the Federal Law on Administrative Procedure which is supplementary of Guidelines

During the Session, it was also emphasized that in order to accelerate more the approval processes listed before, Contractors may request to CNH to hold hearings – prior any submission –, in terms of article 4 of the Guidelines.  

     2. Simplification and Clarification of Requirements.

CNH estimates a reduction of approximately 50% of the quantitative and qualitative requirements. In this regard, it should be noted that the amendments will consider the following:

  • For each procedure, clear evaluation criteria.
  • In the event of amendments, only the sections amended should be submitted.
  • Simplification of requirements taking into account the stage and operational scenarios.
  • Transversal processes and Operators’ needs.

      3. Processes systematization.

Requirements detailed in the Guidelines’ exhibits were reviewed and clarified. Moreover, it will be easier to identify in which part of the value chain they must be fulfilled.

New formats will be available to be downloaded, and they may be submitted either via email or directly at the offices of CNH.

Finally, it was informed that on April CNH will initiate workshops regarding the Guidelines’ amendments and its effects. Likewise, it is estimated that – in the same date – the new version of the Guidelines be published in the Federal Official Gazette.

Muvoil Consulting is a group of specialists in the O&G sector: legal, fiscal, social and environmental. Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to design strategic solutions that can disentangle the most complex regulatory and transactional challenges that a petroleum project can face.

Layla Vargas
General Director