Alma América Porres

Alma América Porres Luna

Wed, 01/22/2014 - 10:53

Q: What is Mexico’s real shale potential?

A: The potential is really clear: the plays are there and they are proven to have hydrocarbons. PEMEX has drilled around 16 wells in shale reservoirs, looking for both shale oil and shale gas. The matter of contention is the extension of those plays: how far do they stretch out? Unlike conventional resources, the way to prove the extension of the shale plays requires specific surveys, which are not commonly done for delimiting the borders of conventional reservoirs. It is worth mentioning that, even if PEMEX has some seismic, geochemical, and geological studies from some of the areas where unconventional resources are present, it has not yet carried out the specialized surveys that serve to delineate unconventional plays. The required budget for running these kinds of studies has not been available. Given the additional budget required, PEMEX proposed a specific project focused on the development for unconventional reservoirs to SENER and CNH. This project, in which PEMEX joined forces with IMP and SENER, is called ‘Assimilation and Technology Development in Design, Acquisition, Processing, and Interpretation of 3D Seismic Data with a Focus on Shale Oil and Gas Plays in Mexico’, and was originally presented with a broad scope that covered the entire prospective shale area from Chihuahua to Veracruz. However, PEMEX was asked to focus its project in order to delineate the plays better and the project was focused on the area between Galaxia and Limonaria.

I do not know if PEMEX is the ideal company to develop such projects, since it has to work quickly to prove the potential of shale plays. But once the potential is confirmed through a pilot project, Mexico can move on with shale development. It is important to ensure a fast progress into mass development, and that is where I believe that small and medium-sized companies have the upper hand, since they can get involved more quickly in such projects.