Crude oil production by Mexican state oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has stabilized after years of steady decline and will begin to rise again this year, CEO Octavio Romero Oropeza said Monday.

During President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s regular press conference, Romero said “the decline has stopped,” citing that from March 9 until Monday (March 18), crude production averaged 1.683 million b/d, a “slight increase” from the amount produced on March 8.

The accelerated development of 20 fields in southeastern Mexico, comprising 16 in shallow water and four onshore, will allow Pemex output “to begin growing starting from this year,” Romero said.

Pemex produced 1.623 million b/d of crude and 3.696 Bcf/d of natural gas in January, down from an oil peak of 3.4 million b/d in 2004 and a natural gas peak of 6.516 Bcf/d in 2009.

Romero said Pemex expects oil production to increase to an average of 2,480 b/d by 2024, and to reach 2,650 million b/d by the start of 2025.

However, Romero said, Pemex is forecasting nearly 1 million b/d of the total to come from discoveries made between now and then, an assumption that analysts have questioned in the past.