Tampico Misantla Basin, Mexico: Current Focus, Prospects, and Frontiers
IHS Energy, Houston, TX
IHS Energy counts more than 255 oil and gas fields in the Tampico Misantla Basin, including the Altamira Complex and the Chicontepec and Golden Lane Atoll sub-basins. More than 120 fields are producing, though most of these represent maturely explored areas that are now highly depleted. The oldest known discovery dates to 1901, Ebano, the first commercial discovery in Mexico. Much of the ultimately recoverable reserves belong to fields that were discovered before 1930. Reserves replacement was strong in the 1960's, and continued through the early 1980s. From 1982 to 2001, there were no significant new discoveries. Only in 2002 did significant replacement resume, due to offshore discoveries. Basin production has been falling since before 1994, but has shown a slight turnaround since 2004 due to recent development efforts. In 2003, a sharp downgrade of proven reserves to less certain categories, according to SEC definitions, made a tremendous impact on the reserves potential of this basin, in particular, but also of the entire country. Within the Paleogene Chicontepec foredeep are stratigraphically complex fields with tremendous remaining reserves potential (e.g., Humapa, Tlacolula, Pastoria). Development efforts have focused onshore (e.g., Agua Fria, Coapechaca, Tajin, Poza Rica, Escolin, Temapache, Tamaulipas-Constitutiones), whereas recent exploration has focused on Neogene plays (e.g., Lankahuasa & Kosni) and the offshore Golden Lane Atoll (e.g., Lobina). Offshore Arenque is another field with significant remaining reserves in Jurassic carbonates. The southern offshore region appears to represent the major frontier for this basin, and is the focus of ongoing exploratory efforts.