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News Article

PEMEX Will Not Drill Delimiting Well in Zama

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 06/11/2021 - 10:26

The CNH has reported that PEMEX will not be drilling the delimiting well that could prove its majority stake claim over the hydrocarbon resources available in Zama.

This news came from the CNH’s latest approval of a new exploration plan that PEMEX wants to apply to its Uchukil field, which neighbors Talos Energy’s block with access to Zama resources. The new plan contemplates an investment of US$180.9 million. It also does not include the drilling of the Asab-1 exploratory well that was supposed to prove PEMEX’s majority stake over Zama’s resources. One month ago, PEMEX revealed in its report to the SEC that an independent study made back in October of 2020 indicated that more than half of Zama’s resources were located in their property, rather than that of Talos Energy. The report indicated that the NOC would drill the Asab-1 well to prove this claim. 

In fact, the Asab-1 well has been a part of PEMEX’s plans for a long time. Back in December 2019, PEMEX Director General Octavio Romero Oropeza revealed, in an exclusive interview to Forbes, that Asab-1 would be drilled in January of 2020. As he put it, “We in PEMEX think that it is quite important that this field is developed as quickly as possible”. Unfortunately, at the time, the NOC claimed that keeping this date proved impossible due to the delays they were experiencing in the rental of drilling platforms. Soon after COVID-19 and the oil barrel price crisis arrived, which obviously scrambled everybody’s schedules. However, up to the beginning of this year, PEMEX’s intentions to drill Asab-1 remained quite firm and formalized. 

Now, this new exploration plan replaces Asab-1 with a completely different well in a completely different location, this time called Laak. The NOC claims that Asab-1 cannot be drilled because “it is too close to an area that is shared between PEMEX and Talos Energy”, and as a result the data that could be gleaned from this well would not be precise enough in terms of delimiting which resources belong to whom. In a statement to El Economista, CNH commissioner Alma América Porres explained that “although we approve this particular exploration plan at this time, we also want to make it clear that we recommend PEMEX to continue with its previous plans to drill Asab-1 as well, because without a well of its nature, the NOC’s arguments in favor of the majority stake they have claimed over Zama will, at the time of unitization, carry very little weight.”

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Forbes, El Economista
Photo by:   PEMEX
Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Journalist and Industry Analyst