Pemex Expects Cantarell Oil Output to Drop 6% in 2006

Mexican state oil company Pemex expects oil production from its Cantarell complex will fall 6% in 2006 to average some 1.91 million barrels a day (Mb/d) compared to 2.03Mb/d this year, Pemex said in a statement.

In the first five days of December, Cantarell turned out just 2.01Mb/d, representing 59% of total national production, the statement said.

Pemex recognizes that Cantarell's output is declining due to the maturity of its fields and as a result production is expected to drop to 1.68Mb/d in 2007 and 1.43Mb/d in 2008, the company said.

However, Pemex emphasized that new oil exploration and production projects like Ku-Maloob-Zaap, Crudo Ligero Marino, Complejo Bermúdez and Jujo-Tecominoacán are expected to compensate for Cantarell's decline.

Pemex's total crude production is forecast to exceed 3.4Mb/d in 2006, while oil exploration and production investments will reach some 107bn pesos (US$10bn) in the same period, the statement said.

The Cantarell complex, in Veracruz state, was discovered in 1976. It includes the Nohoch, Chac, Akal, Kutz, Ixtoc and Sihil fields, of which Akal is the largest.

To maintain Cantarell's production, Pemex approved a project in 1997 to inject 1.2Bf3/d of nitrogen and has drilled some 190 wells that lifted Cantarell's production from 1.08Mb/d in 1996 to 2.03Mb/d in 2005, the statement said.

Cantarell's proven hydrocarbon reserves as of January 1, 2005 were 6.98 billion barrels of oil equivalent, while accumulated investments in the complex from 1997 to 2005 stand at 180bn pesos, Pemex said.

From 1997 to end-2005, Cantarell will have produced 5.51 billion barrels of crude and 2.09 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the statement said.

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