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Wednesday, 18 October 2017 14:35

Pemex to explore Mexico's pre-salt

The National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) has approved Pemex’s exploration plans to probe Mexico’s first-ever pre-salt well in the Bay of Campeche.

The probe, called YAXXTAAB-1 is in the AE0013-M-Pilar de Akal Kayab-04 area (pictured, right), 95km northwest of Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche state, in in Cinturón Akal province, in the Southeast basins.

CNH said the probe presents “a great technological challenge.” The well will be in shallow waters of 50m depth, and be drilled to 7800m below sea level, traversing a big layer of salt, CNH said.

CNH released a video in Spanish detailing the benefits of exploring the pre-salt, where other countries such as Brazil and Angola, in West Africa, have experienced success.

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) released new numbers this morning (13 October) stating that more US Gulf of Mexico production than previously thought is currently shut-in. New numbers released show approximately 24% of oil production remains shut-in after Hurricane Nate made landfall near southeastern Louisiana on 7 October. BSEE had reported yesterday that 19.6% of Gulf oil production was shut-in after the storm.

BSEE said that operators are continuing to reboard platforms and rigs after the storm, but 20 production platforms remain evacuated (2.71% of the 737 manned platforms in the Gulf). No damage has been reported. BSEE said that 24.3% of oil production (425,687 bo/d) and 12.42% of natural gas production (399.92 MMcf/d) remain shut-in.

Nate made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River, in southeastern Louisiana, as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 85mph. It made a second landfall Biloxi, Mississippi, in the early morning hours of Sunday, 8 October.

2017 has been one of the most active hurricane seasons on record. Since late August, three hurricanes (Harvey, Irma, and Nate) have targeted the US Gulf Coast. And, according to Accuweather, the season is not over yet. "Conditions will remain favorable for tropical storms and hurricanes to form over the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico for several more weeks," Accuweather said today (12 October).

Image courtesy of Accuweather.

Read more

Workers return to GoM following Nate

Monday, 25 September 2017 23:28

Mexico signs contracts from Round 2.1

Mexico has signed 10 exploration and extraction contracts with bid round winners from this June's shallow water Round 2.1. Companies signing contracts on Monday (25 September) included Mexico's state owned firm Pemex and its partners Germany's DEA and Colombian operator Ecopetrol.

Mexico's Minister of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell said that Mexico expects investments from these 10 shallow water blocks to total approximately US$8 billion, and produce a maximum of 170,000 boe/d.

Pemex with partner DEA won Block 2, which covers 549sq km in the maritime portion of the Tampico-Misantla basin, to the west of the Gulf of Mexico. Pemex will operate block 2 with 70% interest. 

Pemex along with partner Ecopetrol won Block 8, which lies in the Sureste (Southeast) basin and spans 586sq km. Pemex will operate block 8 with 50% interest.

Pemex said that the closeness of these blocks to areas currently held by Pemex as well as existing infrastructure, allow the partners to create synergies that will improve exploration and development activities. "The geological conditions and the type of oil deposits that are expected to be found in these fields are similar to those in the areas that have been operated by PEP for the past 40 years," the company added.

The event was attended by Coldwell, as well as Mexico's National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) President Juan Carlos Zepeda (pictured, above). The contracts were signed by Pemex Exploration and Production (PEP) CEO Javier Hinojosa, and Juan Manuel Delgado and Felipe Bayón, of DEA and Ecopetrol, respectively.

"These new contracts will allow the companies to jointly explore shallow waters, where PEP has proven to have the necessary technical and operating capacities, sharing the technical, operating and financial risks," Pemex said. 

Image: Juan Carlos Zepeda speaking during Round 2.1 in June. Image from CNH

Read more about the winners from Round 2.1 below:

Mexico's Round 2.1 awards 10 blocks

Wednesday, 20 September 2017 15:36

Discoverer Clear Leader axed by Chevron

Chevron has opted to terminate the drilling contract for Transocean's ultra-deepwater drillship (UDW) Discoverer Clear Leader, effective November 2017, prior to its expiration in October 2018.

The Discoverer Clear Leader drillship was operating in Walker Ridge 758, in Chevron's Jack field, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmemtal Enforcement's current deepwater activity handout from 18 September 2017. The UDW drillship has been under contract since November 2014 at a day rate of US$575,000, says Transocean's July 2017 Fleet Status Report. Although, the ship has been with the field since 2009, when the Discoverer Clear Leader was built and began work for the supermajor in the Gulf of Mexico. 

In 2009, when Chevron received the ship, the company said: “The Discoverer Clear Leader offers the most-advanced drilling capabilities in the offshore drilling industry and will enable Chevron to expand the search for new domestic sources of energy."

The Discoverer Clear Leader was built drill wells in 12,000ft (3650m) of water to a total depth of 40,000ft (12,200m). It was built to use dual-activity drilling, which enables parallel drilling operations from a single derrick, according to Chevron.

In accordance with the contract terms, Transocean will receive a lump-sum payment of approximately $148 million in contract termination fees, which is the present value of the operating dayrate less the operating costs per day. The payment is expected to be received in Q4 2017.

Photo: Transocean's Discoverer Clear Leader

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