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Analysis

Every Barrel From Abkatún-Pol-Chuc Countrs

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 16:14

Abkatún-Pol-Chuc is located in the Campeche basin, between the states of Campeche and Tabasco, and approximately 132km northeast from the Port of Dos Bocas maritime terminal. The field started production in 1980, and after peaking in February 1996 at 754,934 b/d it is forecasted to produce 265,000 b/d in 2013. Now a mature field, Abkatún-Pol-Chuc has so far produced 5.54 billion barrels of oil and 6.35 tcf of gas. “Pemex has been working at this asset for almost 33 years,” says Gustavo Hernández García, Subdirector of Planning for Pemex Exploration and Production. “Since peaking in the mid-1990s, production has declined steadily until reaching current levels.”

After production peaked, Pemex tried a number of enhanced oil recovery techniques, the most successful of which has been water injection. “Oil production at Abkatún-Pol-Chuc is water-driven, so we have been trying production techniques that involve water use,” Hernández García explains. “We inject water to add more pressure to the reservoirs and extract the hydrocarbons that are still present in the oil banks of the field.” Oil remaining in the field is estimated at a total 414 million barrels of proven reserves, 984.1 million barrels of probable reserves, and 1.14 billion barrels of possible reserves. Turning 3P reserves into 1P reserves is the main challenge at Abkatún-PolChuc, and to this end water and gas injection techniques are being introduced in the field: once the reserves can be turned to 1P it means that the operator has the technology to produce the oil. The amount of gas that remains in the geological formations adds up to 833.6 bcf of proven reserves, 1.62 tcf is classified as probable reserves, and possible reserves total 1.70 tcf.

“Abkatún-Pol-Chuc is still an extremely important field for Pemex, because of the viscosity of the oil produced there,” explains Hernández García. “The oil extracted from its reservoirs is extremely light, between 37°API and 40°API. Its production combined with the oil extracted from Litoral de Tabasco, amounts to almost half a million b/d. We send out 130,000 b/d out of that quantity to the Yuum K’ak’ Naab, Pemex’s FPSO, where we blend it with the 860,000 b/d of heavier oil from Ku-Maloob-Zaap to produce Mayan blend oil of almost 20°API. This enables us to keep producing a large quantity of crude with the same API gravity as Cantarell, so that we can export our excess production to refineries on the US Gulf coast, where we have a captive market.” Hernández García explains that although the investment at Abkatún-Pol-Chuc is much lower than at Pemex’s other shallow water fields, it remains an extremely important field for this reason. “Every barrel from AbkatúnPol-Chuc counts,” he states.

Within the asset, the Abkatún, Pol, Chuc, Caan and Taratunich fields have declined over the past five years, while the Batab, Ixtal, and Kanaab fields experienced a production increase. Despite the fact that new fields Che, Manik, Tumut, Kuil, Etkal, and Onel started production over this time period, the asset’s average oil production declined from 308,019 b/d in 2008 to 266,248 b/d in 2012. This decline was mainly driven by Caan, which lost an average of 43,528 b/d of production in the period; Taratunich and Manik together lost an additional 21,223 b/d over the period, contributing to the decrease. On the other hand, Homol experienced a production increase from 10,833 b/d to 45,026 b/d over this period.

Gas production has su†ered a similar decline during the period, decreasing from 568.84 mcf/d in 2008 to 523.45 mcf/d in 2012. The decline was also driven by Caan’s lost average production of 82 mcf/d. However, to compensate for this decline, Pemex increased production at several other fields. This was achieved through the addition of new reservoirs following exploration success, and putting into production of previously discovered fields, and increasing the production of already producing fields. Che started producing in June 2010 and, while it had before yielded a maximum 20,073 b/d of oil and 1.95 mcf/d of gas, it averaged 9,132 b/d of oil and 0.64 mcf/d of gas in 2012. In August 2011, Tumut began production, yielding a peak of 6,668 b/d of oil and 6.55 mcf/d of gas since then. During 2012, Tumut averaged production of 4,024 b/d of oil and 4.09 mcf/d of gas. Finally, Kuil started contributing to the asset’s total production in August 2012. With an average of 21,871 b/d of oil and 13.51 mcf/d of gas in December 2012, and a growing production curve, this is a field that promises to remain an important contributor to production at Abkatún-Pol-Chuc. In the first two months of 2013, its production already went up to 45,868 b/d and 28.5 mcf/d. During 2012 Abkatún-PolChuc ranked as Mexico’s sixth largest natural gas producing asset, after Burgos, Cantarell, Litoral de Tabasco, SamariaLuna, and Veracruz.

The planned exploitation strategy for Chuc includes the drilling of 25 development wells, seven exploratory wells, and 12 major repairs. An additional eight maritime structures will be constructed in the area, and 86km of pipelines will be built. The strategy for the block also includes the application of high-pressure gas injection techniques in order to boost production, and stop the decline that the Chuc field has su†ered since 2006 and keep balancing out the total production at the asset. As part of the strategy to develop the Abkatún-Pol-Chuc asset, Cal Dive International has recently been awarded a contract by Pemex E&P for the EPC, installation, and commissioning of 12km of eightinch (20.32cm) subsea pipeline. The company has also been awarded the contract for developing tie-ins to four platforms already located within the complex. O†shore construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2013