PEMEX starts nitrogen injections at Cantarell

Mexico�s state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos announced it has begun injections of compressed nitrogen into its offshore Cantarell oil fields complex. The project is expected to increase output by 310,000 b/d by the end of this year.


MEXICO CITY�Mexico�s state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos announced it has begun injections of compressed nitrogen into its offshore Cantarell oil fields complex. The project is expected to increase output by 310,000 b/d by the end of this year.

Cantarell is Mexico�s largest producing complex, holding 40.7% of the nation�s total proved and probable reserves. The nitrogen injections form part of Pemex�s $10.5 billion effort to increase heavy crude output at Cantarell by boosting pressure, which has fallen by about 60% since pumping began in 1979.

The project�s $1 billion nitrogen supply plant is being built and operated by an international consortium headed by the UK�s BOC Gases (OGJ, Sept. 13, 1999, p. 36). The first of the plant�s four nitrogen production units�each of which will produce 300 MMcfd of nitrogen, compressed for injection�began operations June 2, although it was scheduled to go on-line in April. The other units are slated for start-up at 3-month intervals.

The entire injection operation will continue through 2015.

Crude production capacity was 1.54 million b/d at Cantarell at the beginning of this year but is expected to reach 1.85 million b/d by yearend as field pressure rises. PEMEX hopes the field will produce a total of 10.4 billion bbl of oil over the next 15 years that would otherwise have been unrecoverable.

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