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Roundtable

Lessons Learned from Cantarell's Peak and Crash

Wed, 01/25/2012 - 11:35

In my opinion, KMZ has been better managed in general, because of what we have learned in Cantarell. I wish that Pemex had found KMZ before Cantarell and been able to apply their knowledge the other way round. I am grateful for the lessons that have been learnt at Pemex’s largest field, particularly in terms of how to manage infrastructure at such a large offshore field. While nitrogen injection started relatively late at Cantarell, and not with enough injection volume to manage the decline; this was not the case at KMZ.”

 Edgar Rangel Germán

Edgar Rangel Germán

Edgar Rangel Germán
Commissioner of CNH

“In my opinion, KMZ has been better managed in general, because of what we have learned in Cantarell. I wish that Pemex had found KMZ before Cantarell and been able to apply their knowledge the other way round. I am grateful for the lessons that have been learnt at Pemex’s largest field, particularly in terms of how to manage infrastructure at such a large offshore field. While nitrogen injection started relatively late at Cantarell, and not with enough injection volume to manage the decline; this was not the case at KMZ.”

Guillermo Domínguez Vargas

Guillermo Domínguez Vargas

President
AIPM

As the former Vice President of PEP, Guillermo Domínguez Vargas, Commissioner at the CNH and President of the Asociación de Ingenieros Petroleros de México (Mexican Petroleum Engineers Association - AIPM) oversaw some of the technologies and studies to inject nitrogen at Cantarell. “Even before we started injecting nitrogen, we knew what was going to happen to Cantarell. We knew that it was in decline, although maybe not to the extent it was in the end.” Domínguez Vargas believes that if the same situation happens at KMZ, it could spell big problems for Pemex, as they are not expecting a decline until around 2014 or 2015. “If KMZ starts declining in 2012 or 2013, it won’t exactly be a disaster, but it’s going to put more pressure on Pemex in terms of oil production.

For example, if we lose half of Cantarell’s production, which would be another 150,000 bbl/day, there is nothing to replace that with, because Ku-Maloob-Zaap is already at its peak. If Ku-Maloob-Zaap starts declining two or three years from now, Pemex might not just be losing a field, but also missing its target by about 250,000 barrels, and there is nothing to replace that with.”

Horacio Méndez Villalobos

Horacio Méndez Villalobos

General Manager
Weatherford Mexico

“KMZ is a reserve with similar characteristics to Cantarell,” says Horacio Méndez Villalobos, Country Manager of Weatherford Mexico, “which is why its exploitation has been managed in a similar way. Unfortunately, the accelerated exploitation rhythm of this field is maintained to comply with the production commitments demanded by the country, as Pemex sees KMZ as a replacement for Cantarell’s declining production. This could be a problem as this field cannot replace Cantarell, because it is a smaller reserve and if it continues to be exploited at this pace, similar to the way in which Cantarell was managed for years, its resources will quickly be exhausted, due to an early drawdown.”

Méndez Villalobos says that new technologies can be applied in the drilling of the wells at KMZ that cause less damage during the drilling process and enable more effective production and therefore better accumulated production by well. “The nitrogen injection implemented at KMZ was based on the analysis of the results obtained in Cantarell. Emphasis can be put on the drilling of non-conventional wells to make the exploitation of the reservoir more efficient in the medium and long term, improving the recovery factor. The refined methods in the static and dynamic characterization in Cantarell can be applied and even improved in KMZ in order to design better secondary recovery systems that prolong the field’s productive life. KMZ has to start being treated like a mature field to avoid its over-exploitation,” he says.

Méndez Villalobos goes on to say that the best lesson Pemex can learn from Cantarell is that even a supergiant field has a critical level of exploitation, and says that exploitation of KMZ should not go beyond this level. However, new drilling, well completion and production technology developed since the first production at Cantarell may help to assuage the problem. Méndez Villalobos believes that technologies such as real time monitoring for analysis, follow up and control of the reservoir will help to bring a more sustainable production programme for KMZ, as will the introduction of smart wells, and more measurement of collection, distribution, separation, compression, pumping and fluid storage.