Mexico onshore operators focusing on low-cost wells

Bnamericas Published: Friday, June 19, 2020
Mexico onshore operators focusing on low-cost wells

Hydrocarbons regulator CNH is stepping up hearings on exploration plans after an almost three-month lull, with its latest approvals indicating that low-cost drilling campaigns remain a favorite among small operators in Mexico. 

“They are already, let’s say, old fields,” CNH commissioner Alma América Porres said in reference to a drill plan put forward by Pantera E&P for development of its field in the Burgos basin. “With these delimiter wells they are trying to extend beyond the delimitation that they had originally.”

Special purpose operator Pantera won approval for two wells in its field in Tamaulipas state, Teenek-1EXP and Patriota-106DEL. 

And in a recent CNH session, Pantera received approval to drill two to five delimiter wells in a sister assignment migrated over from Pemex.

With Teenek, part of license assignment CNH-R02-L02-A7.BG/2017, Pantera is targeting an Oligocene play at a depth of 2,335-2,375m. 

It expects to find 8Bf3 (billion cubic feet) of wet gas, with a 23% chance of geological success. Based on 3D seismic studies, the well will target a depth nearly 1,000m shallower than the operator originally planned in 2019. 

Drilling is slated to begin on September 17, with termination to conclude by October 25. Pantera expects to spend US$4.93mn on Teenek-1EXP. 

Source: CNH

It also won approval for the delimiter well Patriota-106DEL, in license assignment CNH-R02-L02-A5.BG/2017. 

Drilling is scheduled to start on June 22, aiming at three Oligocene plays in the Vicksburg formation: OV-20 (1,778-1,825m), OV-24 (2,010-2,020m), and OV-28 (2,160-2,170m). 

Final termination is October 2. Pantera expects to spend US$6.37mn on Patriota-1DEL. 

Pantera seeks to extract 24,000b of condensate from the Patriota well, along with 4.88Bf3 of wet gas. It has a 54% chance of geological success. 

CNH technical advisor Alan Castallanos said that “the operator plans to carry out the termination without equipment” by taking advantage of nearby infrastructure to reveal quickly Patriota’s capacity. 

No mention was made of security concerns. In its previously approved plans for delimiter wells in the area, Pantera said it would restrict on-site work shifts to limit transit in a region where drug traffickers operate. 


CNH also approved a similarly small-scale though geologically distinct onshore well plan put forward by Operadora Bloque 12, part of Carlos Slim’s Grupo Carso. 

The operator will drill Jamalem-1EXP in a vertical trajectory, reaching a total depth of 1,438m. It expects to find light oil of 31.1-39°API, with total recoverable resources of 23Mboe and a 15% geological chance of success.

Source: CNH

Two other prospects exist in the assignment, CNH-R02-L03-CS-04/2017, a new field in Veracruz state.

Jamalem-1EXP will cost US$3.1mn. The operator estimates that Jamalem contains 23Mboe (million barrels oil equivalent), with a 15% geological chance of recovery. 

But concerns emerged suggesting wider apprehension that CNH could review plans with delays. 

“It is important to mention that with this well they plan to initiate drilling operations in December [12] and terminate in January 2021,” said CNH technical advisor Héctor Silva, but the terms of its contract would allow the operator to delay drilling by up to 60 days.  

While CNH commissioners acknowledged that given the contract it was within the operator’s rights to delay, commissioner Néstor Martínez captured others’ sentiments in commenting that they should “give more specific dates.”

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