Higher gas reserves seen for Mexico's Burgos basin

The Gas Technology Institute, Arlington, Va., Monday said the potential for undiscovered gas in the Burgos basin of northeastern Mexico may be 21-75 tcf, or roughly 3-10 times current proven recovery. The current estimate is 9.7 tcf.

Jan 8th, 2001


The Gas Technology Institute, Arlington, Va., Monday said the potential for undiscovered gas in the Burgos basin of northeastern Mexico may be significantly larger than previously thought.

GTI, created by the merger of the Gas Research Institute and the Institute of Gas Technology, said published estimates by Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) for 4.2 tcf of reserve appreciation potential and by the US Geological Survey for 5.5 tcf of new field potential imply a total undiscovered resource of 9.7 tcf.

"However, in light of newly developed study information, these estimates now appear to be conservative. GTI estimates that an additional 11-65 tcf of undeveloped potential exists, which would imply a total undeveloped resource of 21-75 tcf, or roughly 3-10 times current proven recovery."

It said the Burgos basin is an extension of the Texas Gulf Coast province with very similar geology, producing formations, and expected ultimate yield. It said the previously published estimates of 9.7 tcf of undeveloped Burgos potential (USGS/Pemex) can be compared to the current GTI estimate for the Texas Gulf Coast of more than 100 tcf under similar geological conditions.

"Over the past few years, Burgos Basin gas production has increased more than four-fold, to a current level of more than 970 MMcfd. Pemex has been successful in increasing production from the basin and appears to be on track for further increases in the future. Burgos Basin non-associated gas production is projected in the study to continue to increase, reaching a level of 2.3 bcfd by 2015. The future impact on Mexico's overall natural gas production will be dependent on the success of Pemex projects in the Burgos basin and continued access to outside capital and technology."

John Cochener, GTI project manager, said, "Mother Nature in her geological distribution did not recognize the border that separates the US and Mexico. Burgos has the underlying potential to replicate the prolific adjacent Texas District IV historical production growth patterns that emerged 70 years ago. The best part for gas supply is that the Burgos Basin will have the advantage of today's newer technology to accomplish this feat."

The study said that drilling success rates are very high in the Burgos, nearly 100% for development wells and more than 50% for exploratory wells (which are mostly drilled in existing fields). "The low level of exploration implies that the entire region remains under-explored."

GTI noted that gas demand is growing rapidly in northern Mexico. Net imports of less than 150 MMcfd in recent years to are expected to grow to 267 MMcfd by 2005 before moderating.

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