PEMEX Outlines Offshore, Deepwater Campaign

The loss since 2004 of 1.5 million barrels/day from its super-giant Cantarell field has prompted PEMEX E&P, the upstream unit of Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico's state-owned oil company, to look again at its portfolio of undrilled prospects in the shallow waters of Campeche. At a PEMEX procurement panel on April 30 at Houston's Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), New Ventures Manager Sergio Guaso outlined PEMEX's plans for public tenders of offshore blocks, including, by year-end, ones in deepwater areas.

He explained that an intense campaign to increase production is taking place, and operators will be paid by their incremental production. Terms in the new contract model provide for 100% cost recovery for exploration expense, 75% recovery for operations and a fee/barrel that will be the sole biddable element in the public tenders.

This offshore development will require the contracting of dozens of jackups and associated support vessels and services. A fundamental requirement for the success of PEMEX's campaign is the timely availability of hotel vessels for the crews.
On April 12, PEMEX E&P renewed its contract with a consortium of three Mexican companies, TRESE, ARDICA and JB del Golfo, for a hotel vessel, the Armada Firman 3, and associated services, for the period 2012-13. The vessel has capacity for 200 beds, and comes equipped with dynamic position technology (type 2), plus a helicopter pad.

The vessel is leased by the consortium from Malaysia-based Bumi Armada Navigation, a well-known offshore services provider with a presence in over 10 countries and in four continents. The company provides supply vessels, Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facilities and diverse services.

The members of this Mexican consortium have worked together on previous PEMEX contracts, and the consortium was recently awarded a "zero accident" certification by PEMEX E&P.

From his Galleria-area offices in Houston, TRESE Director Ricardo Silva sees the successful bid in a PEMEX public tender by a consortium of Mexican and international players "as a positive sign that international collaboration of this type has a resonance in PEMEX's development plans." Taking note of PEMEX's plans for public tenders for offshore blocks, Silva foresees a need for such consortiums by the new-to-country operators. "This will be a new experience for us to do business with operators other than PEMEX," he observed.

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