Pemex annual oil output slides 10%; Cantarell 36%

Production from Mexico's Cantarell oil field fell 36% over the past year, reducing the country's overall oil production and creating a sharp decline in its exports.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23 -- Production from Mexico's Cantarell oil field fell 36% over the past year, reducing the country's overall oil production and creating a sharp decline in its exports.

"New fields aren't coming on line fast enough to replace Cantarell," said Jesus Reyes Heroles, general director of Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Reyes' remarks coincided with an announcement by Pemex that in the first 7 months of 2008 the state firm produced an average of 2.84 million b/d of oil, down 10% from the same period in 2007.

Pemex confirmed that the decline in production is due mainly to the fall-off in production from Cantarell. It said the giant field produced 1.12 million b/d, a figure 472,000 b/d less than during the same period a year before.

Between January and July of 2008, Pemex exported an average of 1.44 million b/d, or 16.3% less than the same period in 2007. But income from crude exports during January-July totaled $30.08 billion, or 51.8% higher than in 2007, due to the surge in global prices.

Mexico's production of natural gas stood at 6.75 bcfd during the first half, representing a 13% increase compared with the same period in 2007.

The Pemex refinery system produced 1.5 million b/d of gasoline, diesel, and other fuels during the same period, while imports of gasoline averaged 342,500 b/d, up 17.6% over the January-July 2007 period.

Pemex said the total volume of petroleum product imports in January-July rose to 555,100 b/d, on average, or 22.2% greater than such purchases during the January-July 2007 period, at a total cost of $14.08 billion.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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