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Mexico’s Cantarell Continues Steep Decline in Oil Production in 2007

Average daily production by year from the combined fields of the Cantarell complex. Click to enlarge.

Oil production from Mexico’s giant Cantarell offshore complex continued its steep decline in 2007, dropping to a combined average 1.458 million barrels per day (mbpd) of production from all the fields, down 18% from an average 1,776.2 mbpd in 2006, according to statistics from the Energy Ministry available on the Sistema de Información Energética (SIE).

Cantarell accounted for 47.3% of all of PEMEX’s crude oil output in 2007, down from 54.6% in 2006. Mexico’s total crude output dropped 5.3% in 2007 compared to the year before, down to 3.082 million barrels per day from 3.256 mpbd in 2006 according to the SIE statistics.

Average daily production by month from Akal-Nohoch, 2002-2007. Click to enlarge.

Production from the Akal-Nohoch field in Cantarell, which accounted for 98% of the output from Cantarell in 2007 and for 46% of Mexico’s total crude oil output in the year, dropped to an average 1.261 mbpd in December 2007, down 16% from December 2006.

The rate of decline remans more rapid than PEMEX had anticipated. 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.)

Cantarell’s production peaked in 2004 at 2.113 million barrels per day, according to SEI data. In 1997, PEMEX began nitrogen injection to maintain reservoir pressure. The injection regimen supported increasing crude oil production from 1.083 million barrels per day in 1996 to the peak in 2004.

Total Mexico average daily crude oil production by year, with contribution from Cantarell complex shown  by red line. Click to enlarge.

The US imported an average of 1.705 million barrels per day of crude from Mexico in 2006—12.4% of the total imported—making Mexico the number two source of imported crude behind Canada, with 2.353 mpbd in 2006 (17.7%), according to data from the Energy Information Administration.

Daily US imports from Mexico for the first 10 months of 2007 averaged 1,550 mbpd (11.5% of the total, according to the EIA), while imports from Canada for the same period averaged 2.432 mbpd (18% of the total).

According to the SIE, Mexico’s total crude oil exports dropped 6% from an average 1,793 mbpd in 2006 to 1,686 mbpd in 2007.



It's nice to see honest disclosure...

"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."

As opposed to what Saudi Arabia says about its Ghawar complex (no problems here >_< )

The fact that the nitrogen injection program has led to a steeper decline rate is very disconcerting. Anyone care to chime in about the differences between N injection, CO2 injection, and H20 injection?

I've read that water injection helps to "sweep" perimeter oil toward the center and that CO2 injection helps overcome porosity problems (it acts as a solvent). I have not seen any benefits associated with nitrogen injection other than reservoir pressure maintenance.


No surprise here, all this was well documented in "The oil drum" ans "Aspo" websites. The story is always the same, in 1974 US realized that its oil production had passed the peak of production 3 years ago, and everybody was shoked, but it has been clearly prediced 15 years before, and nobody beleived it ...

I am still firmly convinced that Mathew Simmons is right and that Saoudia will report the same problem on their big Ghawar fields within 5 years from now, Ghawar field account for 6% of the world production.

Welcome america and its SUVs lifestyle...


CO2 is best by far because its a strong solvent and disolves oil... its also liquid at fairly low pressure and as long as you have an easy source of it its cheap.


Mexico declining, Venezuela selling to others and no requirement for Alaskan oil to come to the U.S. since the 1995 Gingrich Congress does not bode well for California.

More than 1 in 10 cars in the U.S. is registered in California and Californians tend to drive more than the average miles per year compared with others in the U.S.

California produces 40% of the oil consumed here, but that leaves a lot to be imported. It seems like the time for PHEV, HEV, EV, ANG, SNG and any other alternatives to come on line soon to keep any shortages of gasoline from disrupting one of the top 10 economies in the world.


If they invest money in upgrading their extraction tool, you should probably see a secondary peak (lower than the main peak) and then a sharp decline.

Mexico will be back to great poverty very soon...


They discovered another massive field in late 2005. 10 billion barrels, supposedly. But the way PEMEX operates it'll be years before they can bring any production online. It's also in deeper water, and more expensive.

The Mexican federal government depends on oil revenues for about 40% of their budget, last I read. If they can't do what needs to be done and increase capital investment in new fields and new production tech, they're in for some catastrophic budget problems. And only then it delays the inevitable. The oil won't last forever.

The easy oil is gone.


Somebody please refresh my memory. Why is Mexico even being considered for membership in the North American Union? Their oil production is dropping like a rock, the subprime meltdown has cooled off the construction industry in the U.S., and outsourcing is siphoning off jobs from legal Americans.... Why would we want to assume the burden for supporting ALL of Mexico's poor (compared to the 15 million illegals we support now) ?

Canada is a different story. It has a relatively small population and plenty of valuable resources: oil, water, timber, Uranium, grain, etc. The Canadians might not be thrilled about the idea, but complaining is a national hobby for Canadians anyway. A merger of the U.S. and Canada would give them a great topic to gripe about for decades to come. Sounds like a win-win situation. We wouldn't even have to change the name of our currency: the Ameri-Can dollar.


Just what are the environmental implications with C0 or N extraction for that matter.
My simple mind is horrified at the thought of sequestered GHG releasing to the atmosphere.
As with nuclear wastes that are "safely dumped at sea or stored in leaky 44gallon drums. Oh well it works well enough for all the other toxic chemicals.
No need in worrying unnecessarily

Briney how big was that wall that needs to be built again? fair weather friend.


Speaking of weather... the next mini ice-age is due to start sometime in the next 10 years. Perhaps Canadians will change their minds when the frozen north really does become the FROZEN north. Oh well, tried to warn you. Hope y'all enjoy the next Maunder minimum.

Paul F. Dietz

Speaking of weather... the next mini ice-age is due to start sometime in the next 10 years.

Sounds like crankish nonsense. Perhaps you could justify this assertion?


Don't have to. Mother Nature will take care of that for me. If you want proof, just wait ten years. Of course, the koolaid drinking AGW'ers will probably want to blame global cooling on C02 as well. Notice that they've changed their mantra from 'global warming' to 'climate change'. Egg...Face, get ready.

Harvey D


Were you around in 1812-15? That was the last time our south of the border expansionist friends tried to annex Canada.

Russia was more successful doing that for 50+ years, then we all know what happened some 20 years ago. Most southern areas countries annexed will break away sooner or latter.

I doubt that too many Canadians would call your idea a win-win project. We have more than enough with the (rather one way) NAFTA for now.

OTOH, climate does oscillate and warm periods are normally followed by colder ones. The latter will not be around in ten years but may be in about 10 centuries.


Sigh... none so blind...


So, Briney thinks there's no such thing as peak oil or climate change, or if there is climate change we're entering a (mini) ice age. Did the holocaust happen Briney, or is that also just a bunch of Al Gore propaganda? :-o


"Sigh... none so blind..."
Perhaps you should look in a mirror.


I wouldn't bother trying to argue with this guy. I suspect they say these things only in the hopes that they can provoke us. There is a name for this type of behavior - a troll.

Jim G.

Just for the record there's never been a "North American Union". The idea is a made-up bogeyman used in anti-immigrant propaganda on American television (e.g. Lou Dobbs).


The "CC" in IPCC stands for "Climate Change." The IPCC was founded in 1988.

It was Republican pollster Frank Luntz who suggested people use the term "climate change" instead of "global warming," because focus groups thought "climate change" sounded less scary.



Notice that they've changed their mantra from 'global warming' to 'climate change'.

Reminds me of the denialists shifting their position conintuously. First denying that anything is happening. Now there is proof that average temperatures are rising, and voila, that suddenly isn't important anymore. It's just that we (humans) have nothing to do with it!

When it's proven that climate change/global warming is caused by us, what will you deny then?


I'd like to throw an idea out there:

-Since CO2 is such an excellent pressure maintenance medium and...
-They (PEMEX) are alrady burning NG to source, pressurize, and inject N why not...
-Pyrolyze the oil on site (break it up into CO and H), reform it into a novel synthetic fuel (such as what shell is doing with GTL), and pump the resulting CO2 back into the ground for enhanced oil recovery.

Advantages would be better oil recovery due to the injected CO2 and a product that doesn't have to be refined and burns much cleaner.




Please try not to sound so foolish. The general public created its own simplified name for what is going on with AGW: Global Warming. Of course, that is, by default, a CHANGE in the CLIMATE.

Your little mini ice age may indeed happen, just not for the reason you suspect, but as a direct result of AGW. Just a few weeks ago it came out that the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting even faster than we thought. Worse, its been proven to also be accelerating. The consequence of that much fresh water being dumped into the north Atlantic may be the slow down or full shut down of the oceanic conveyor belt. If/when that happens, Northern Europe will be locked in a mini ice age, as will parts of eastern Canada and the US.

So, if London gets buried under a glacier, does that prove AGW is a fallacy? Actually, it proves the EXACT OPPOSITE.

But what the hey, you go right ahead and sit on your hands for 10 years. Luckily, it seems the majority of the rest of us will step up and at least attempt to save your sorry arse.



That sounds good, if you could generate enough heat to pyrolyze, but since the ground may not be the best thermal vessel, this could be a problem. I have heard of coal being done something like this however.


Between the U.S. (hopefully) slamming the door on illegal immigration from Mexico in the future, and the decline of oil as a guaranteed source of revenue for the Mexican government, maybe this will help force real government and economic reform in Mexico.

And yes, it's going to be great fun over the next few years watching the AGW "the sun has NOTHING to do with climate change!" crowd try to explain why it's getting colder even as greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise.


Matthew, you are a horse's arse.

You are correct, the sun has nothing to do with it:

And this is a cooling?

Horse's arse.


Bingo! Stephen wins a year's supply of purple Koolaid for his timely flip flopping on the issue of 'Climate Change'. Using Stephen's circular logic, the modern cargo cult of AGW can now be expanded to cover warming or cooling. It would appear that AGW is the 'hot' new religion for the 21st century. It has everything: sin, penance, redemption, and the mystery of the new holy ghost (C02). Amazing. Truly, carbon dioxide must work in mysterious ways. Now say three Hail Marys and pay your carbon tax. Go and sin no more, my son...

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