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Mexico’s Cantarell Continues Steep Decline

Data from Mexico’s Energy Ministry available on the Sistema de Información Energética (SIE) shows an ongoing steep decline in crude oil production from the giant Cantarell offshore complex in May 2008, with output from the main field, Akal-Nohoch, dropping below an average 1 million barrels per day to 994 thousand barrels per day—its lowest level since February 1996.

Average daily crude output (by month) from the Cantarell complex. Click to enlarge.

Total output from the Cantarell complex in May 2008 dropped to 1.038 million barrels per day, the lowest total output since January 1996. Cantarell hit its peak monthly production rate in December 2003, at 2.193 million barrels per day, according to SIE data.

Total Mexican crude output in May 2008 dropped to 2.798 million barrels per day, down from its peak monthly production of 3.455 million barrels per day in December 2003.



and the north sea is doing the same, get ready for gaz at 6 or even 8$ / gallon.

Despite figure like this one there is still people to arguee that K.Hubbert was wrong and peal oil is a myth...


The Canatarel example is a mixed one because the causes for decline are two fold. The first being natural decline and the second being underinvestment in PEMEX's infrastructure. In that sense we are seeing nearly a "natural" decline...

On second thought, Cantarel is under secondary depletion. It uses nitrogen injection to maintain reservoir pressures. It is possible that this N injection, while briefly increasing output, actually made the decline phase worse.


I think it is time for Mexico to start saving its oil for the future, thus preventing to start importing oil very soon. I do not believe new reservoirs will solve their problem. Mexico would have to start importing oil in two or three years from now.



You are right on your second assumption, this field already had a 2nd life with this nitogen injection, not much you can do anymore. Enhanced oil recovery can maintain a plateau of production for sometimes once past the peak but then the decline is a cliff, same thing in Noth Sea. Older field tend to decline mor gently because they use less agressive technique.

Anyway, Mexico will stop exporting oil 5 years from now


Look at Venezuela, with out companies who have the technology to improve or maintain, the production will go down.
I see cars have the ability to adapt to high fuel prices but I have not seen anything else. The next 5 years should be interesting.


Fortuneately or unfortuneately if you're in the US, Mexico has the right to hold back resources like oil if it finds it necessary since it refused to ratify that section of the free trade agreement. Canada doesn't have that option. It must export according to the trade agreement.

Mike McCarthy

Mex could w/h oil for export, but remember they are under-capped on refining capacity and import gaz from US. Some diplomatic balancing of interests will take place. . .


A rough estimate of Mexico´s oil situation for December 2008 is: Cantarell production: 0.7 million barrels per day(mbd); Total mexican production: 2.5 mbd; Oil exports: 1.1 mbd. If gasoline imports will be 350,000 barrels per day, Mexico will use 700,000 of its exports barrels to pay for it, so the net oil export could be of just 400,000 barrels per day on December 2008.

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