Progress stalling on Zama oil field delineation offshore Mexico

Feb. 11, 2020
Pemex is reportedly delaying progress on the Zama oil field offshore Mexico.

Offshore staff

LONDON – Pemex is reportedly delaying progress on the Zama oil field offshore Mexico.

Talos Energy operates the section of the field contained in block 7: Zama is known to extend into an adjacent block operated by the Mexican state oil company.

But according to Adrian Lara, oil and gas analyst at GlobalData, there are no indications on when Pemex will start appraisal drilling on its block.

Without this appraisal, he added, negotiations between Pemex and Talos on unitization and operatorship of the field cannot begin.

This means the first production date will be delayed and the field will therefore not contribute toward reversing Mexico’s domestic oil decline. In addition, the Mexican government has now hinted its interest in having operatorship of the field, Lara said.

“Talos has actually moved quite fast in every step, from exploration to appraisal. This is contrary to critiques of the current Mexican administration with respect to new operators not investing enough in awarded areas.

“More importantly this situation will be a benchmark on the manner in which Pemex can lead future negotiations in joint developments and to how the government values the role of international operators.”

Last year, Lara continued, Pemex was reportedly focusing on 22 priority fields, yet only two of these have started development.

Drilling contracts are being held up for fields with approved development plans, he added, and this will push back the planned startup dates. “Moreover, their aggregated peak will be later than expected and less than the indicated 700,000 b/d of oil.

“Given the current objective for the Mexican government in rapidly reversing Mexico’s oil production decline, Zama should in principle be a priority field for development,” Lara concluded.