Pemex’s forecasted production plans rely heavily on the development spending it will be doing in 2013 and the years to come: from fourth quarter 2012 production levels of 2.56 million b/d, the company hopes to reach 2.70 million b/d by 2014, and 3 million b/d by 2018. According to Pemex’s estimates, projects currently in development should account for 500,000 b/d of that 2018 production figure.
One of the main aims of the development division is to gain a full understanding of new reservoirs and bring them to production as quickly as possible. One of the projects where the division has managed to achieve this has been at Tsimin-Xux, showing that in the years to come, shallow water may still hold a lot of potential for the development division.
“We got the first oil at Tsimin-Xux in July 2012,” reveals Gustavo Hernández, Subdirector of Planning at Pemex Exploration & Production. “Pemex has two producing wells at the field today, jointly producing close to 10,000 b/d.” The production plan for the field involves adding two more platforms to the two existing ones, Tsimin-A and Tsimin-B, which should be producing by the first quarter of 2014, according to Hernández. The drilling plan for 2013 at Tsimin-Xux has recently been reduced from a planned eight wells down to five, due to delays in the tendering of the necessary jack-up rigs. This will obviously affect the production target for the area, but Hernández believes that each well drilled should produce between 4,000 and 5,000 b/d, given the geology of the area.
The reserve levels at the field are impressive: Tsimin holds an estimated 1.1 billion boe in 3P reserves, with Xux holding 836 million boe of 3P reserves. Both reservoirs contain light crude oil, an extremely useful resource for Pemex given the amount of heavy and extra-heavy oil that the NOC is currently producing at Ku Maloob Zaap: the current plan is to use the light oil to blend with the heavier oil in order to reach the necessary API gravity for refining in both Mexico and the US.
The long-term development plan for Tsimin-Xux involves linking the infrastructure together with the existing production infrastructure of Litoral de Tabasco: Pemex is currently planning the construction of both a low and high pressure compression platform and a production platform at the nearby field by the end of 2015, along with pipelines to shore that will begin their life as oil and gas pipelines. At a later stage will operate as a low pressure gas pipeline, and by 2016, will be operated as a high-pressure gas pipeline. By linking the infrastructure together, and tying Tsimin-Xux to the other production zone, Pemex will create a shallow water production center at Litoral de Tabasco that the NOC hopes will become extremely important in the years to come, as Cantarell declines and the company tries to diversify its production.
As a result, several important shifts in the allocation of the development budget have taken place between 2012 and 2013. The strong focus on the development of Tsimin-Xux is reflected in the budget available for Litoral de Tabasco, which receives 17% of the development budget this year as opposed to 4% in 2012. At the same time, development investment in Cantarell declined only moderately while Ku-Maloob-Zaap’s budget only represents 10% of the total development budget in 2013, down from 17% in 2012.