MEXICO CITY – Drilling of the first new exploration well in BHP Billiton’s deepwater Trion project will begin in October, according to a Reuters report. The plan was approved by Mexican regulators on Thursday.
BHP Billiton won the right to operate Trion in late 2016, taking a 60% stake in the project valued at some $11 billion, while Mexico’s state-owned oil company PEMEX holds the remaining 40%.
The project marked the first-ever deepwater joint venture partnership for Mexico’s newly opened oil sector following a constitutional energy overhaul in 2013.
The new exploration well is part of a minimum work program set out in Trion’s 35-year license contract, and the plan sets out three potential well locations, all west of the two original Trion wells previously drilled by PEMEX in 2012 and 2014.
BHP Billiton expects the new well to be drilled between October 2018 and January of 2019.
Trion, located some 8,430 ft (2,570 m) below the surface, lies just south of the US-Mexico maritime border in the Gulf of Mexico’s Perdido Fold Belt.
The exploration plan also calls for a range of geological studies as well as the acquisition and processing of new three-dimensional seismic data.
PEMEX had previously estimated that the area contains reserves of 485 MMboe, but BHP’s exploration plans reclassified the estimated resource. The company’s new estimate puts Trion’s “contingent resources” at 475 MMboe.