Pemex Optimistic for Ultra-Deep Water Find in Gulf of Mexico

Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state-run oil producer, is optimistic of a crude discovery at the Vasto-1 ultra-deep water exploratory well by year-end, said Exploration and Production Director Gustavo Hernandez.

Pemex, as the Mexico City-based producer is known, has found “evidence of hydrocarbon content” at the Vasto-1 well and hopes to announce an ultra-deep water find by year-end, Hernandez said today in a phone interview from Mexico City. If confirmed the discovery would be the latest in the Perdido area, where the company estimates that as much as 10 billion barrels of potential reserves can be pumped.

“We are working on the well and if it turns out to be as satisfactory as we hoped, I think we will be making another announcement in the near future,” Hernandez said of the Vasto-1 well. “It has shown good results that are going to allow us to determine and evaluate the economic potential.”

Drilling at the Vasto-1 well started on April 11 with the Bicentenario rig, according to a company presentation in July. Pemex is “practically done” drilling, having reached a depth of 6,500 meters (21,326 feet), 600 meters shy of a 7,100-meter goal, Hernandez said.


Pemex is also drilling an exploratory well 17 kilometers from the U.S-Mexico border at Maximino to determine the size of the field, Hernandez said. The company announced its third ultra-deep water discovery at the Maximino field last year.

Once the size of the Maximino field is determined, Pemex will seek a partner in the form of a joint venture to assist production, Hernandez said. Maximino was not included by Pemex as one of the 10 fields where the company seeks a joint venture next year during Mexico’s first bid round for private oil companies. Pemex is looking for a joint venture partner in the Trion and Exploratus deep water fields in the Perdido area for next year.

“Practically in all the areas, with the exception of the Trion farm-out, we want to be the operators,” Hernandez said. “In the deep water is where we want technology, experience and capital in a partner. In Trion, we don’t want to be the operating partner.”

Mexico will offer 169 blocks to private companies for exploration and production next year, including 11 in the Perdido area near the Mexico-U.S. border. Tender details for deep-water blocks being auctioned will be announced in March with contracts to be awarded in October, according to Juan Carlos Zepeda, who heads the National Hydrocarbons Commission.

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