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The Sonda de Campeche: Thirty Years after Cantarell; New Insights to Extend the Exploration Frontier in the Southern Gulf of Mexico—Part II


Oviedo Pérez, Adán E.1, Javier J. Meneses Rocha2, Francisco J. Sánchez de Tagle2, Arturo Soto Cuervo2, Alicia Cruz Rodríguez2, Javier J. Villasenor Hernandez1, Jorge Varela Santamaría2, Jaime Barceló Duarte2, Felipe Audemard3, Andreas Suter3 (1) PEMEX Exploration & Production, Villahermosa, Mexico (2) Pemex Exploration andProduction, DCS Mexico, Mexico (3) Schlumberger, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico


The lack of investment in exploration for the Sonda de Campeche during more than a decade is evidenced by a downward trend in exploratory and appraisal drilling. Thus, today the scenario is a growing domestic demand for fossil fuels coupled with the need to main­tain the country’s current level of involvement in the world market. This situation occurs under widely varying price, cost, and economic environments. In 1999 new investments began to strengthen exploration and production. The Cantarell field has expanded produc­tion through a nitrogen injection project; but peak production from this enhanced oil recov­ery method is expected in 2005. Therefore new and important discoveries are needed to compensate this decline. For this reason Pemex E-P has triggered an intensive 3- D seismic acquisition program along with visualization technology. This renovated interest for explo­ration and production is just a part of the equation to convert undiscovered resources into proven reserves; since other factors are: geologic knowledge, creative thinking, and decision for taking risk to test new ideas. Sub-salt plays, Upper Jurassic oolite intervals, autochtho­nous fault blocks and a pre-Callovian deeper section could be viewed as new frontiers in shallow waters (<200 meters); while new northwest-trend prospects with fractured Mesozoic carbonates are the target in a deep - water region of some 10,000 km2. Finding costs and reserves replacement and exploration margin will continue as the key metrics for performance; but value creation through an exploration strategy will play an important role in the success of this exploratory phase.