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Analysis

PEMEX's 2012 Exploration Campaign

Sat, 02/25/2012 - 08:35

Pemex’s 2012-2016 exploration strategy aims to add 1.56 billion Boe to the NOC’s 3P reserves in 2012, and subsequently increasing the amount incorporated annually. Also, Pemex wants to achieve 100% 1P reserve replacement once again after it reached this 2012 objective already one year in advance.

Pemex estimates that Mexico holds about 50.5 billion Boe in prospective resources, of which 58% are in deepwater. Knowledge of deepwater geology remains scant. In order to change that, Pemex plans on improving seismic studies in the area, acquiring data for 112,549km2 in the Gulf of Mexico through 3D seismic technology and continuing with geological-geochemical modeling of the complex. Its 2012 budget for deepwater exploration, including wells, seismic studies and research, is US$1.06 billion. In total, 30 exploratory wells are planned to be drilled through 2015, according to Pemex’s 2012-2016 business plan, starting with three wells in the Cinturón Plegado de Perdido area in 2012. Pemex plans a total six deepwater wells for 2012 in water depths that range from 1,800m to 2,933m, according to a company presentation in January 2012. By comparison, the deepest well drilled last year was in 1,945m of water. In 2011, the company drilled five wells in water depths that ranged from 600m to 1,945m, with the Piklis-1 well successful in finding a gas field. Pemex was still drilling four other wells at the end of 2011. On January 24th 2012, Pemex announced that it had made a discovery of oil and wet gas at its Puskon-1 exploration well 61km o the coast of Tuxpan, Veracruz.

Shale gas could become an important aspect of Pemex’s exploration strategy, considering that at least five geological provinces are thought of as being potentially productive in shale gas: Chihuahua, Sabinas-Burro-Picachos, Burgos, Tampico-Misantla and Veracruz. To evaluate Mexico’s shale gas potential, Pemex has programmed dierent field studies in the coming years, as well as the drilling of 20 exploratory wells to be completed through 2014. In its business plan 2012-2016, Pemex further explains that these fields require geoscience technology, horizontal drilling, as well as massive hydraulic fracturing so as to have commercial success. At this stage, preliminary estimates put the potential at between 150-459 Tcf. Supposing that shale development is intense, a Pemex document outlines a scenario of tripling current national gas production to 20 Bcf/day. The first phase would be to evaluate shale potential, followed by conceptual tests, which would lead to delineation processes starting around 2013-2014, and actual development around 2016, according to a Pemex presentation.

Pemex is also planning about 133 exploratory wells through 2015 in order to find non-associated gas fields, and estimates that gas fields to be discovered in the Burgos, Sabinas and Veracruz regions could range from 4-16 million Boe. In onshore or shallow water fields, Pemex is looking to drill 140 exploratory wells through 2015. Added to that, Pemex plans to acquire 17,757km2 3D seismic data in these fields by 2015. Furthermore, Pemex has to delineate existing fields, especially in the southeast region, in order to boost its 1P reserves through reclassification.