Pemex drilling deep in Bay of Campeche

Pemex Exploration & Production is drilling its first deepwater well, Catamat-1, off Tuxpan, Veracruz state, using the Noble Max Smith semisubmersible.

Jan 6th, 2009

Nina M. Rach
Drilling Editor

HOUSTON, Jan. 6 -- Pemex Exploration & Production is drilling its first deepwater well, Catamat-1, off Tuxpan, Veracruz state, using the Noble Max Smith semisubmersible. The wellsite lies in 1,200 m of water. The rig will take 150 days to drill to 5,200 m.

The rig will be serviced by seven supply vessels and two helicopters from the marine terminal at Cobos, 400 km from Veracruz. Pemex improved an access road to Cobos and began upgrading port facilities in April 2008 to accommodate the drilling.

The governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera Beltran, and assistant director of Pemex's north region, Jorge Andres Perez Fernandez, inaugurated the drilling project Jan. 1 in Tuxpan. Tuxpan is the closest port to Mexico City; Pemex maintains a facility on the Tuxpan River to build and maintain drilling rigs.

This is the first exploration project since Mexico's Congress passed the 2008 energy reform bill in October 2008 (OGJ, Dec. 15, 2008, p. 18).

Noble Max Smith can drill in 7,000 ft of water. It's under a 3-year contract to Pemex, Aug. 1, 2008, to July 31, 2011. Noble said the rig was upgraded in second-quarter 2008, mobilized from the US to Mexico, and is working at a dayrate of $484,000.

Noble also has ten jack up rigs working in Mexico's Bay of Campeche, with contracts ending December 2009 to December 2011. Noble's rigs in Mexico contributed 20% of the company's overall revenue in the first 9 months of 2008, according to the company's investor presentations in December.

Contact Nina M. Rach at ninar@ogjonline.com.

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