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PEMEX CEO Sees Cantarell Field Declining 14% Per Year

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.




Similar fates await most if not all oil fields that have been in production 30-40 years. We saw it in east Texas and then the North Sea and the North Slope.

Harvey D.

Could the life of those dying wells be extended another 10 to 20 years by pumping in surplus unwanted CO2?

Bike Commuter Dude

No, I do not believe that they can, as the internal pressure is already supported by nitrogen. I think that substituting CO2 would not make much of a difference.

Rafael Seidl

Where does the nitrogen come from? Usually secondary recovery is based on pumping in water. I thought CO2 injection into old oil fields was supposed to reduce the viscosity of what's left, enabling tertiary recovery. If the geology and the economics permit, these techniques permit the extension of the useful life of a field by up to 30 years, though obviously at much reduced rates of production.

This is different from straight sequestration of surplus CO2 in brine aquifers such as is the case in the Sleipner gas and condensate field:


I think CO2 is heated and injected to thin the remaining oil and allow further pumping of depleated wells. Water injection produces a "water cut" where a higher percentage of what is taken out is water and has to be separated from the oil. Saudi Arabia's Aramco has used the water injection method extensively. There is some debate as to whether water injection to boost production can actually compromise the total oil removed from the field.

Madan Rajan

How much energy is needed to pump CO2 / Water into those fields.

So the net energy gain will be much lesser and the cost will the higher.

This could only increase the oil price and Ethanol will narrow the energy gap margin with Oil.


CO2 is more than a pressurizing agent, it is a solvent.  It dissolves the lighter fractions of oil droplets trapped in rock grains (which could not be moved with e.g. gravity or water pressure) and carries them along.

Getting the CO2... that's the issue for Cantarell.


For the real story from professionals in the oil "bidness" read The Oil Drum

"Considering the many productive uses of petroleum, burning it for fuel is like burning a Picasso for heat." - a Big Oil Executive


I think they reuse the CO2 and water over and over. It is not like the CO2 stays down there or escapes into the air. I think using CO2 in oil wells or storing it in old NG well would be good if they built pipelines from power plants to the fields, much like we built NG pipelines from the fields to the cities.


Oil companies plan to be making profits well into 2200 and likely ebyond. They just wont be selling the oil to be made into fuel. Oil still has many uses that would still work if oil was 200 bucks a gallon.


"Considering the many productive uses of petroleum, burning it for fuel is like burning a Picasso for heat." - a Big Oil Executive

So why have these Big Oil executives been burning it for 100 years?

Plastic, paint, rubber, pharmaceuticals, nylon, other textiles, fertiliser, coatings, advanced structural composites - take away oil and you take away nearly every modern material. I suppose we'll have to go back to Bakelite and celluloid.

The stupidity of mankind is beyond words to describe.

"They are a truly primitive race - hah aha ha ha ".

Got smashed.


well one thing to remember is everything that can be made from oil can also be made from coal. So the us has a gobstoppering supply if hydrocarbons to use for plastics and such.

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