Evolution of Mexico’s Drilling Efficiency

Tue, 01/22/2013 - 15:39

In 2012, Pemex improved its drilling efficiency. At the national level, taking into account both exploration and development wells, Pemex drilled a total of 1,296 wells with an average of 136 drilling units in 2012, which means that on average, each drilling unit drilled 9.5 wells during the course of the year. This represents an increase of eight units and 291 wells in comparison to 2011, a year in which the ratio was of only 7.9 wells drilled per unit.

When broken down into exploration drilling and development drilling, Pemex’s units drilled an average of 2.1 exploration wells during 2012, while units dedicated to development drilled 10.6 wells on average. Certainly, drilling was overwhelmingly focused on development during the past year. Whereas an average of 17 drilling units were dedicated to exploration throughout 2012 - with five operating offshore and 12 onshore - 119 units were dedicated to drilling development wells. In sum, Pemex devoted 87.5% of its drilling units to development projects in 2012, and 97.2% of the wells drilled by the company were development wells.

Pemex’s development division’s results were broken down by the CNH to compare drilling times at each of the company’s main development projects. Drilling units at Chicontepec were the most efficient, with each unit drilling an average of 18 wells per year. Burgos saw the second largest number of wells drilled per drilling unit: an average of 16.9 wells. At Cantarell, 16 development wells were drilled by an average of eight drilling units over the year, although the variation in the number of drilling units throughout the year means that the average wells drilled per unit stands at 1.9. Ku-Maloob-Zaap saw a slightly higher efficiency, with an annual average of six units drilling 14 wells throughout the year, leading to an average of 2.4 wells per unit.

In Pemex’s southeastern marine region, drilling took place at 1.6 wells per unit on average: a mean number of nine drilling units throughout the year drilled a total of 14 wells. In Pemex’s southern region, an average of 33 drilling units were in operation during the year. In total, they drilled 229 development wells, leading to an average number of wells per unit of 6.9. The remaining wells drilled for the year are grouped together by the CNH, adding up to a total of 149 wells drilled by an average of 15 drilling units. This led to an average of 9.8 wells drilled per unit.

Another factor for measuring drilling performance is the number of days taken to complete each well. On average, exploration wells were completed in 155 days in 2012, while development wells took an average of 34 days to be completed. Each well drilled at both Chicontepec and Burgos during the year took only 23 days to drill. However, at Cantarell, this number increases to 117 days per well, and at Ku-Maloob- Zaap, it took an average of 125 days. In the Southeastern Marine region, the average well took 222 days to drill, while in Pemex’s southern region, the average development well took 51 days to drill. Nevertheless, completed offshore wells generated a larger initial oil output, thus compensating for the added drilling time and cost entailed. Whereas onshore wells produced an initial output of 307 b/d during 2012, offshore wells generated an initial production of 4,917 b/d.