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Pemex shrinks footprint at Xux field

Bnamericas Published: Monday, April 27, 2020
Pemex shrinks footprint at Xux field

Pemex recently gave back a portion of its Xux offshore field as it withdraws from peripheral areas of a field where the company has yet to drill and where studies indicate it is unlikely to be profitable. 

The Mexican NOC handed back to hydrocarbons regulator CNH four areas of the A-0371-M-Campo Xux, a field on the southern tip of its AE-0155-Chalabil assignment. 

Source: CNH

“They concluded that the areas they are renouncing will not have the [required hydrocarbon] reserves,” CNH technical advisor Francisco Castellanos said. 

The total area given back amounts to just over 12.1km2 of the original 50km2 Xux field. 

“The new conception that they have focuses on 2P reserves that are included in the new polygon, and this reinterpretation is in line with the best quality rocks and the best saturations of fluids,” Castellanos said. 

Pemex discovered the Calabil fields in 2010, subsequently drilling wells in the Cretaceous and Upper Jurassic Kimmeridgian (JSK) plays. 

At the start of the opening up of the oil sector, CNH awarded Pemex the field in 2014's Round Zero. 

In 2015, the combined Tsimin-Xux field, along with Ayatsil also in the southern Gulf of Mexico, were touted by Pemex as containing reserves capable of lifting the company’s output by 200,000b/d. 

According to the BNamericas project database, the Xux field prior to the modification had an estimated 200Mb (million barrels) of oil and 1Tf3 (trillion cubic feet) of gas. Pemex has 14 operational wells in the Xux field and the project database puts combined output at 110,000b/d. 

Now Pemex is targeting a more concentrated area. All the wells Pemex has drilled in Xux lie within the center of the field, the “new polygon.”

Castellanos said Pemex had carried out new seismic tests, but revised forecasts for 2P or 3P reserves were not disclosed.

WILL PEMEX GIVE BACK MORE FIELDS?

Last October, Pemex gave back its Yum field because of a major markdown in reserves. But more often it is private operators that have surrendered fields to CNH. 

In 3Q19, US-based E&P firm Talos Energy gave back a portion of its original assignment in Block 7 in order to gain a two-year extension at its prized Zama field. Also, Mexican E&P operator Hokchi returned an offshore field because exploratory wells proved no commercially viable deposits. 

Pemex relinquishes its claims less often. Last September the NOC was allowed to keep dozens of fields despite its contractual obligation to return them to CNH because it had not done any of the required work to develop them. 

That may be changing. Pemex first proposed the plan to give back the portions of the Xux field to the energy ministry on February 17. 

As the reality of significantly lower global oil prices dampens debt-ridden Pemex’s appetite for developing expensive fields, more cost-saving measures may be in the works. 

“With this type of procedure Petróleos Méxicanos [Pemex] saves money,” CNH commissioner Néstor Martínez said in endorsing the Xux plan.

Pemex has yet to announce a more aggressive plan to trim expenses amid the oil price collapse. 

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