Melbourne-based mining and petroleum giant BHP Billiton and Mexican national Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to exchange oil and gas-related technical knowledge and expertise.
In April, Pemex announced a similar partnership with GE Oil & Gas and Mexico’s Institute of Petroleum (IMP). One of the agreements main areas of focus was improving Pemex in its development of deep and ultra-deepwater projects.
Following the passage of Mexico’s historic energy reform that opened the country up to private investment for the first time in more than 75 years, Pemex has expressed interest in expanding its offshore activities in Gulf of Mexico. After it received the rights to all of Mexico’s domestic proven and probable reserves in Round Zero, the company said in a statement that it had identified two partnership opportunities in deepwater areas.
BHP Billiton Petroleum and Potash President Tim Cutt said in a statement that the company can rapidly provide critical offshore capacity, pointing out that its new Deepwater Invictus drilling rig is currently in the Gulf and can be deployed swiftly.
The Australian company also operates the deepwater Gulf of Mexico Neptune and Shenzi fields, both located in the Western Atwater Fold Belt off Louisiana in water depths exceeding 4000ft. The two fields were brought into production in 2009 and 2011, respectively. Pemex said in July that the company was going to invest an additional US$6 billion into its Cantarell oilfield, located in the Gulf's Bay of Campeche near the Ayatsil oilfield, the company's largest-ever discovery.
News of the non-binding partnership came one day after BHP Billiton announced a sizable cut in its petroleum division's capital spending for 2015. Out of its planned total capital expenditure of just over US$13.1 billion, $5.6 billion is ear-marked for petroleum project, down from almost $7.1 billion in 2013.
Pictured is Pemex's Cantarell heavy oil field.