Oil Production at Cantarell Declines 25% in 2006

30 January 2007
 Production from the PEMEX Cantarell complex in 2006. Click to enlarge.

Oil production from Mexico’s giant Cantarell offshore complex, which now accounts for 50% of PEMEX’s total output, declined 25% during the course of 2006, according to statistics from the Energy Ministry available on the Sistema de Información Energética.

Total Cantarell output dropped from 1.978 million barrels per day in January to 1.493 million barrels per day in December. The Akal-Nohoch field—the main component of Cantarell—declined from 1.920 million barrels per day to 1.439.

Although the sharp decline was partially offset by production from other fields, Mexico’s total petroleum production dropped 12% from 3.371 million barrels per day in January to 2.978 million barrels per day in December.

The decline is more rapid than PEMEX has projected. In testimony before the Energy Committee of the Mexican Senate in November 2006, PEMEX CEO Luis Ramirez Corzo said that production at Cantarell would decline by an average of 14% per year between 2007 and 2015. (Earlier post.)

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 data, however, show an average realized production of 1.788 million bpd in 2006, representing a 12% annual decline from 2005 to 2006—double the forecast.

Cantarell’s production peaked in 2004 at 2.125 million barrels per day, according to PEMEX. 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. (Earlier post.)

The US imports about 1.6 million barrels per day of crude from Mexico—about 12% of the total—making Mexico the number two source of imported crude behind Canada. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela contend for the third spot, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Peak oil draws ever nearer.

Explains why oil prices are up over 5% today, Natural gas over 11%.

I reccomend everyone invest in seismic exploration stocks such as OYOG, or DWSN, these companies make it possible for oil companies to explore for more, and for the next 10-15 years are an excellent oppertunity for financial growth.

As to the matter of Mexican oil production, well 12% annual decline speaks volumes.

How anyone thought that oil would return to $40 is beyond me. Global demand will only increase, while the largest field's production only decreases. The writing is on the walls, the only question is: Can we replace oil in time? The only surprise is the amount of the decrease, really. But then again, according to the WSJ, as of early 2006, the remaining oil column at Cantarell of 800' was thinning at the rate of about 300' per year. Given these rates, it ought to come as no surprise that this oilfield is quickly reaching retirement age. That and they likely damaged the feld doing what they did in the first place. There were always rumoprs the field was being overdrawn ad damaged for quite some time. Cantarell news has not surfaced on CNN or Bloomberg, doh, sometimes it's just too cold in winter. Peak oil is the only way we will ever get off of oil. As the price goes up so does the attractiveness of alternatives (usually but not always cleaner). Just look at the amount of activity we've seen this year after one little price shock. Announcements like this used to get me worried, but now I see that it may actually be a good thing. Algae economy, here we come... I read in The Economist that US alternative energy investments amounted to$30 billion in 2006.

Peak oil is the only way we will ever get off of oil. As the price goes up so does the attractiveness of alternatives (usually but not always cleaner). Just look at the amount of activity we've seen this year after one little price shock. Announcements like this used to get me worried, but now I see that it may actually be a good thing.

Perhaps, but the thing that is worrying is that there is so much emphasis on developing technologies which in the long run are of no use in helping us get off of oil and are perhaps only investigated because of the possibility of short term profit. Into this category I put corn ethanol, palm oil biodiesel, and several others.

We already see world corn prices rising as a result of our attempts to make ethanol from corn. How much longer will it be before the public realizes that this is a dead end?

eric:

Probably when they go into the supermarket and are paying $5 for a single ear of corn or$10 for a box of corn flakes.

Are we on the downslope of the bell curve in oil production? Perhaps...Time to give very serious attention to renewable energy...

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This seems more a consequence of a nationalized oil industry (Pemex) than of "peak oil".

Matthew:

There's something to that statement. PEMEX suffers from antiquated equipment and the fact that 40% of its revenues go right into government coffers, which stifles the investment they would need to access smaller, more difficult fields that they haven't tapped yet.

They also discovered a very large new offshore oilfield (~10 billion barrels) early last year. Unfortunately it's in deeper water, and PEMEX can't co-operate with private companies in order to produce.

However, regardless of these facts it behooves us to move away from fossil fuels as a transportation fuel. Worldwide peak production will likely happen within the next decade. With any luck we can double yearly private investment into alternatives by 2010...

IM(not an economist)O a sustained crude price of 60 or 70$is what we need to send that money into alternatives without doing serious damage to the economy. The worst thing that could happen right now is a drop in oil prices. "The worst thing that could happen right now is a drop in oil prices." The next hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico should take care of any low prices. I fully expect to see$4/gal this coming summer. I'm glad I have my Reflex scooter.

Me, I'm going to skip the gas station and plug in.

Eric,

When you buy a box of corn flakes in the super market you're paying more for the box than for the corn inside, even at the recent $4/bushel price. One bushel of corn weighs 56 lbs. That works out to 7 cents per pound. My dad was a wheat farmer, and I can't tell you how many times he reminded me that when they raise the price of bread and blame it on the cost of the wheat they are distorting the truth. But don't get the idea that I disagree with you on corn-based ethanol. The government subsidies, coupled with import taxes, are really distorting the market, and we do need to get back to reality. The big three automakers, the UAW, and the corn lobby's interests converged. All three are located in the midwestern states, so their politicians gave them the E85 loophole as the political answer to an uncompetitive auto industry, with a subsidy to farmers and agri-businesses thrown in. Unless it eventually leads to sustainable energy sources (cellulosic ethanol or bio-diesel) that can survive without subsidies we will one day wake up and see that it didn't really move us towards energy independence or reduced CO2 emissions. this is quite funny, guess you guys put your fingers in your ears for the last 3 OPEC cuts. This release had zero to do with the price increase and peak oil is a fictional story based on wild assumptions. Saudi is now cut up to 1,000,000 bbls a day. I wish you guys were right, but the facts sream in the face of the wild assumptions. So inspite of crude prices the highest in 25 years it still isn't incentive enough to push extraction rates past 86 MMbbl/d. Richard, not sure where you put your fingers, but it is very conceivable that Saudis are cutting because they know better than anyone else where they are in the bell curve. fyi co2, read up on how financially sophisticated Saudi's and Kuwati's have become. If they were within 50 years of running out they would set the price at$200bbl at least

If they were within 50 years of running out they would set the price at $200bbl at least Way back when they were still able to have control on price they consciously chose to keep prices low (something like <$40/bbl, maybe lower) to price out alternative energy. Now I hear they're aiming for \$50/bbl, but it's too late for that -- they simply don't have the capacity. If they were foresighted they'd use the money to establish a real, non-petro based economy. Instead, like they say: "My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet plane. His son will ride a camel."

Dubai looks to me like the most likely candidate for sustained development.

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According to this, Canterell is expected to decline by another 33% in 2007.

Accelerating declines indicate that by 2010 at the earliest and 2015 at the latest, the field will decline to the point of shutting down.

As the 2nd or 3rd largest field in the world it is irreplacable.

Mexico is soon to be finished as an oil producer and the US better get moving on algea biodiesel and other alternatives.

Peak oil is no more than 8 years away, and we are not ready.

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