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MEXICO CITY, Aug 4 (Reuters) - Mexico's oil regulator voted on Tuesday to modify bidding rules for the second phase of the country's so-called Round One auction, lowering a required corporate guarantee that officials said had scared off some investors in the first phase. In the first concrete step of a sweeping energy sector overhaul finalized last year, last month's inaugural oil auction covering 14 shallow water exploration blocks failed to meet the government's own modest expectations when only a couple were awarded. An exploration block is essentially a virgin area where oil companies drill exploratory wells to determine if there is enough oil or gas below to extract commercially. The next phase of the auction, held by Mexico's oil regulator CNH, will cover five shallow-water extraction blocks containing proven reserves and are set to be awarded at the end of September. A new corporate guarantee - essentially money a consortium of oil companies has to put up front in case of an accident - has been set at 18 times the value of the minimum work commitment required by each contract. 

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