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IOC Uses International Knowledge to Push Offshore Progress

Emry Hisham Yusoff - PC Carigali (PETRONAS)
Mexico Country Head


Peter Appleby By Peter Appleby | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Fri, 02/19/2021 - 10:24

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Q: How is PETRONAS positioned in Mexico?

A: PETRONAS is an energy and solutions partner that was established in 1974 with a reputation as a trusted and successful operator across the globe.

The company first entered Mexico in 2015, through its Mexican affiliate PC Carigali Mexico Operations (PETRONAS Mexico) and we are now the second-largest acreage holder in the country behind PEMEX, with 10 exploration blocks across Mexico’s three main basins, with a total area of approximately 22,000km2.

PETRONAS’ entry into Mexico’s deepwater arena provides a strategic fit for our business growth, focusing on upstream exploration opportunities and portfolio with potential for long-term value. At the same time, it demonstrates our deepwater capabilities. Mexico is very important to us as it forms part of our extensive search for resource addition. We have a long-term view of our investments in Mexico and intend to establish a robust upstream portfolio.

Q: What is the makeup of the company’s upstream portfolio in Mexico and how have these positions progressed?

A: PETRONAS Mexico has 10 blocks in the country, five as an operator and the other five as a partner. These blocks are within the main three basins in the Gulf of Mexico: one block in the Perdido Basin – Block 4 (with 30 percent participation (PI)); three blocks in the Mexican Ridges – Block 10 (40 percent PI), Block 12 (60 percent PI) and Block 14 (50 percent PI); and six blocks in the Salina Basin – Block 4 (50 percent PI), Block 5 (30 percent PI), Block 6 (50 percent PI), Block 25 (100 percent PI), Block 26 (100 percent PI) and Block 29 (28.33 percent PI).

PETRONAS Mexico’s entry into Block 4 - Perdido Basin in Mexico’s deepwater provides a strategic fit for our business growth, focusing on upstream exploration opportunities with potential for long-term value. This opportunity allows us to extend our portfolio into the prolific Perdido Basin. Our partnership with CNOOC will bring together our capabilities and expertise for a successful collaboration toward developing this basin.

We began the drilling campaign for the Moyote-1 well in Block 6 as per plan together with our partner, ECOPETROL. We successfully spudded the well in mid-November 2020 and the exploration campaign was estimated to last for approximately 90 days.

Q: How has PETRONAS invested in Mexico so far?

A: PETRONAS Mexico has invested substantially in Mexico as the country holds substantial material opportunities and is largely underexplored. We are pleased to be one of the early movers in this basin and look forward to growing our portfolio here. Currently, PETRONAS Mexico is one of the most active oil and gas companies in the country. To date, PETRONAS Mexico and its partners have completed drilling of five deepwater exploration wells and two more wells will be spudded in the near future. As for future plans, PETRONAS Mexico will focus its investment in the 10 Blocks and will continuously look for opportunities that suit its portfolio, governed by our Statement of Purpose and Sustainability Agenda that are aligned with SDGs 2030.

PETRONAS Mexico is the first IOC to establish a drilling base in the port city of Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz. Home to the Pajaritos petrochemical complex, the city’s strategic location and infrastructure will become even more relevant with the Trans-Isthmus Corridor project that will connect the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. PETRONAS Mexico also operates from Port Pajarito for its first operated deepwater well Yaxchilan Este and continues to operate for the Moyote-1 shallow water well.

Mexico is one of PETRONAS’ focus countries and we aspire to drive long-term business value creation through responsible investments here. We hope to continue building our portfolio of resources as well as leveraging emerging opportunities toward supporting and growing together with Mexico in realizing its energy aspirations.

Q: How did PETRONAS aid local communities during the pandemic?

A: When the pandemic hit Mexico, PETRONAS Mexico contacted the mayor of Coatzacoalcos to seek perspective on the potential problems that the community would face while fighting COVID-19. The mayor expressed two major concerns: the lack of infrastructure to ensure access to clean water to the community and the need for a large quantity of PPE for health personnel in Coatzacoalcos.

Guided by our sustainability lens and emphasis on positive social impact, our primary focus was the well-being of the Coatzacoalcos community, the area of our operations. In collaboration with Coatzacoalcos city’s Ministry of Economy, PETRONAS Mexico contributed five water pumps to the city, which allow the local government to supply clean water to 80,000 people. With access to clean water, the community can curb the spread of the virus through basic hygiene measures.

In addition, we also collaborated with IMSS and contributed 80,000 units of PPE, comprising of facemask, face shield, gloves and coveralls, which were distributed to the Coatzacoalcos health sector, including hospitals, in Coatzacoalcos.

We are also involved in various social programs unconnected to the pandemic. PETRONAS Mexico recognizes that students are the future of the community and seeks to enhance the national education agenda to meet the expectations of the job market, in line with our sustainability lens and positive social impact, combined with SDG 4 quality education. For this reason, PETRONAS Mexico aims to support the national education agenda by enhancing the students’ potential, which will help them to meet the current expectations of the working market. On Dec. 17, 2019, PETRONAS Mexico organized an event with stakeholders and students called “PETRONAS: Connecting with Community and Academia in Coatzacoalcos” where a series of presentations showcased PETRONAS’s activities in Mexico, and presented our technical knowledge-sharing on topics addressed to the student community.

Q: How is PETRONAS decarbonizing?

A: As the world contends with the many challenges brought about by the energy transition, PETRONAS is embracing its role in providing access to affordable, secure and sustainable energy to businesses and society. We are committed to fulfill our purpose in providing cleaner energy and solutions that benefit the world through reduced emissions by recently declaring our aspiration to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

PETRONAS will continue to intensify its efforts toward reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions from our assets by delivering continuous improvements in operational excellence, and by deploying innovative operations and technologies. Together with these efforts, we will also pursue new avenues of revenue creation via investments in nature-based solutions as well as establish greater accessibility to cleaner energy solutions.

Sustainability is not new to PETRONAS, having been on this journey for more than two decades, integrating sustainability practices into our business and decision-making. This is driven by our need to build a more sustainable business against the backdrop of strong operational excellence, technology, innovation and responsible governance through four main efforts: building on operational excellence strengths, making cleaner energy more accessible, accelerating technology and innovation stewardship and investing in nature-based solutions.


PC Carigali Mexico Operations S.A. de C.V. is a Mexican affiliate of Malaysian IOC Petroliam Nasional Berhad, better known as PETRONAS. The company has 10 blocks in Mexico, five of which it operates.

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