Christian Rodríguez
Director Mexico
Core Laboratories (Core Lab)

When Short and Long-Term Benefits are Achieved

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 14:44

Production decline can be one of the biggest challenges operators face and they are increasingly looking to companies like Core Laboratories (Core Lab) that offer well-intervention services to reverse the trend, says Core Lab’s Director for Mexico, Christian Rodríguez. “During the first year, a well’s production will decline about 40 percent,” he says. “With reservoir description and production enhancement services, production decline can slow down and wells can even increase production by 4-5 percent.” This percentage may seem low but Rodríguez emphasizes that it should be seen in the context of the entire life of a well, and for the number of wells an operator may have. In PEMEX’s case, for instance, the number of wells and life cycle of each means the margins are considerable. “We have worked with PEMEX for many years and in many wells. This adds up to billions of barrels that have been produced thanks to the small percentage increase in production per well we offered with our services.”

Although the relationship between PEMEX and Core Lab has been developing for many years now, Rodríguez says the opening of the Mexican market has created a different set of opportunities. “In the past, PEMEX was the sole operator for all of Mexico, meaning that it had to divide its investment across several assets, leaving each of the fields with a level of investment that was insufficient to ramp up production.

Now, as PEMEX has competition and is either entering into associations or prioritizing the more economically attractive fields, individual investment for each well is set to rise.” Although many believe PEMEX’s activities have declined over the last few years, Rodríguez says that on the contrary, Core Lab has seen demand for its services increase from the NOC. He sees the transformation as a wholly positive step.

As a major highlight of the company’s capabilities, Rodríguez mentions the fact that Core Lab is the only company of its kind contracted by PEMEX to offer its services in Cantarell and Ku-Maloob-Zaap, Mexico’s two biggest-producing fields. As Cantarell is older than Ku-Maloob-Zaap, this field has provided Core Lab with proof of PEMEX’s shift in mentality in its activities, with a new focus on value creation and production improvement. “Year after year at Cantarell, PEMEX has performed more tests to determine how to improve the field’s production. We have found that there is still a great deal of oil to be tapped there. If more activities had been performed since day one, there could have been more potential for recovery,” Rodríguez says. In the case of Ku-Maloob-Zaap, he says the younger field received Core Lab’s services from the very beginning of operations, allowing it to maintain healthier production levels. “This says a lot about what PEMEX learned from Cantarell.”