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Pemex Strikes Oil at Test Well in Tabasco State

Mexico state-owned petroleum company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) said Monday it has discovered oil at a test well, which initially is producing more than 3,700 b/d of crude oil and 8 MMcf/d of natural gas.

Pemex said the Pareto-1 test well -- located in the southeastern state of Tabasco and about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the city of Comalcalco -- was drilled to a depth of 7,124 meters (23,372 feet). The company said hydrocarbons were discovered between 6,100 and 7,130 meters (20,000 and 23,392 feet).

"We are currently in the process of calculating and certifying the amount of reserves in the field," the company said in a translated statement. "With the successful outcome of this test well, Pemex will increase the current production of the region, all while confirming the potential production for similar areas."

Pemex said the discovery "adds value to a series of locations in the same area with similar seismic-structural conditions, which could become a source of light crude." The company added that the well was in the Comalcalco formation, one of several basins in the southeast part of the country.

The company reported March 30 that proven oil and gas reserves totaled 13.796 MMboe, 74% of which was crude oil, 9% was condensates and liquids and 17% was dry gas. Of the proven reserves, 9,320 MMboe, about 68%, were considered developed reserves that could be recovered using existing facilities at low cost. Development of Mexico's reserves is seen as a challenge given the country's prohibition of foreign ownership of oil and gas resources and ongoing drug-related violence (see Daily GPI, April 4).

According to Pemex, the company has produced an average of about 2.57 million b/d of crude oil per month in 2011, which includes 847,000 b/d of light crude. Natural gas production is currently averaging 6.862 Bcf/d per month in 2011, which is below the 2010 monthly average of 7.020 Bcf/d.

Pemex said last month it had started producing its first shale gas from a test well in the state of Coahuila, which lies above the Eagle Ford Shale play. The well began producing in February; its output was 2.9 MMcf/d at the time of the announcement, when the company also said it would repair existing wells and drill 10 more test wells (see Shale Daily, March 25).

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