In testimony before the Energy Committee of the Mexican Senate, PEMEX CEO Luis Ramirez Corzo said that production at the giant Cantarell offshore field will decline by an average of 14% per year between 2007 and 2015. The Cantarell complex currently produces about 1.8 million barrels of oil per day (bpd)—about 55% of the total 3.3 mbpd PEMEX estimates it will produce this year.
In August 2005, PEMEX forecast that Cantarell production in 2006 would average 1.905 million bpd—a forecast volume 6% lower as compared to 2005 production of 2.032 million bpd. The realized 1.8 million bpd represents a decline of 11.4% from 2005 to 2006.
Cantarell’s production peaked in 2004 at 2.125 million barrels per day, according to PEMEX. (Earlier post.) The Cantarell Complex—discovered in 1976—is made up of the Nohoch, Chac, Akal, Kutz, Ixtoc, and Sihil fields, with Akal being the largest. In 1997, PEMEX began nitrogen injection to maintain reservoir pressure. The injection regimen supported increasing crude oil production from 1.082 million barrels per day in 1996 to the peak in 2004.
The state-owned PEMEX is the third largest producer of crude oil in the world, the ninth largest integrated oil company in the world, and a key supplier to the US. PEMEX exports about 1.7 million barrels per day, mostly to the US.
Ramirez Corzo said Pemex is working to substitute Cantarell’s declining output with production from other projects. Total crude output from PEMEX has been on slight decline for the past four years, from a peak of 3.37 million barrels per day in 2003 to the 3.30 million barrels per day estimated for this year, according to PEMEX figures.
The CEO said the company needs to invest at least US$18 billion (€13.7 billion) a year in exploration and production to maintain crude output at the 3.3 million barrels a day mark between now and 2015.