Pemex lets Chicontepec work; delays drill bids

Mexico's Pemex has awarded four contracts worth $154 million for the construction of 344 drilling pads and access roads in the Chicontepec region.

Jan 7th, 2009

Eric Watkins
Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 7 -- Mexico's Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has awarded four contracts worth a total $154 million for the construction of 344 drilling pads and access roads in the Chicontepec region.

At the same time, the state firm—at the request of bidders—has delayed bidding on 500 drilling contracts announced in December, with bidding to close in February instead of January.

All four winning construction firms are Mexican companies that will assist in developing 29 new oil fields in Chicontepec—part of a project Pemex hopes will eventually raise the country's oil output to 550,000-600,000 b/d by 2021.
A consortium headed by Impulsora de Desarrollo Integral SA was awarded a $38.4 million contract to build 87 well pads, while another led by Constructora Luna Rodriguez SA won a $37.3 million contract to build 86 well pads and access roads.

Terrecerias y Cimentaciones del Sur SA won a $50.6 million contract to construct access roads and 85 well pads, while Capi Constructora SA was awarded a $39 million contract to build access roads and 86 well pads.

Drilling tenders delayed
Meanwhile, Pemex's exploration and production subsidiary PEP has delayed calling tenders for drilling 500 development wells in Chicontepec field. At the request of potential bidders, bids have been rescheduled to Feb 19 from Jan 20.

Drilling work, which is expected to be completed within 1,187 days, will focus on the 11-A Agua Fria-Coapechaca Tajin, 11-D Amatitlan-Profeta-Tzapotempa-Vinazco, 11-H Coyula-Japeto, and the 11-I Humapa-Bornita and 11-G Área 5 projects in Chicontepec.
Sixteen firms purchased bid packages for the work, including Andrews Technologies de Mexico; D&S Petroleum; Industrial Perforadora de Campeche; JPT Consulting & Services; Nabors Perforaciones de Mexico; Servicios Integrales GSM; and BJ Services Co. Mexicana.

Also purchasing bidding rules were: Dowell Schlumberger de Mexico; Halliburton de Mexico; Baker Hughes de Mexico; Grupo Administrador de Recursos Organizacionales; Constructora y Perforadora Latina; Servicios Petrotec; MI Drilling Fluids de Mexico; Perforaciones Maritimas Mexicanas; and GL del Centro de Panama.

Pemex began inviting the bids in December for drilling 500 new wells in the eastern area of Chicontepec field, saying the decision was "unprecedented" because of the number of wells to be drilled.

However, Pemex said the move was necessary in order to "increase the production of hydrocarbons" in a region that contains "17.7 billion bbl of crude oil equivalent," or 39% of Mexico's total petroleum reserves.

Cantarell's decline
Pemex said its goal is to convert Chicontepec into a basin that can produce 550,000-600,000 b/d (of oil) through 2021, "which in addition to posing an extraordinary challenge in terms of logistics and execution, will also require the development and administration of specialized technologies."

Chicontepec field, which spans a 3,815-sq km area in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, and Hidalgo, east of Mexico City, contains deposits that Pemex says "are characterized by (small pockets of) hydrocarbons (with) low permeability and pressure" resulting in reduced levels of productivity.

Still, Pemex said the project to contract out drilling in Chicontepec "is of great relevance to the country," because it will be "essential" to drill about 15,000 wells in that area over the next 15 years.

The relevance of the drilling program was underscored in December when Pemex said Mexico had produced an average of 2.81 million b/d of crude oil during the first 10 months of 2008, down 9.6% compared with the same period of 2007.

That fall was primarily due to a decline in production at Cantarell field in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Between January and October, Cantarell produced just 1.04 million b/d, down 31% from the same period in 2007.

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