Mexico continues to advance
offshore E&P activity
The development of Mexico’s offshore oil
and gas resources is continuing to ramp up,
buoyed by the countr y’s energy reforms, and
despite the prolonged market downturn.
Several promising new finds have been
made in Mexico’s shallow-water regions. In
mid-July, Eni announced that its Amoca- 3
well in Campeche Bay has proven multiple
significant oil intervals in the Orca and Cinco
The well was drilled in 25 m (82 ft) of water
to a TD of 4,330 m ( 14,206 ft) in Contractual
Area 1, 200 km (124 mi) west of Ciudad Del
Carmen, 1. 5 km (0.9 mi) southwest of Amoca- 1
and 3 km ( 1. 8 mi) northwest of Amoca- 2.
It intersected 410 m ( 1,345 ft) of net oil pay,
25-27° API, in several high-quality Pliocene
reservoir sandstones; 300 m (984 ft) of the
pay were in the deeper Cinco Presidentes
sequence, in various Pliocene-age clusters.
During the production test, 45 m (147 ft) of
the Cinco Presidentes reservoir were opened
to production with the well flowing 6,000 b/d
of 25° API crude. The Amoca- 3 well has since
been suspended but will be re-entered later
for production purposes.
Following the results of this latest well, Eni
has lifted its estimate of the Amoca field’s in-place reserves to 1 Bboe. Across Area 1 the total
estimated resource base is presently 1. 3 Bbbl of
oil in place, 90% being oil, with further upside.
The company plans to submit an accelerated and phased development plan later this
year targeting an early production phase with
a plateau in the range of 30,000-50,000 b/d,
with operations set to start in early 2019.
Exploration of Area 1 continues with the
first appraisal well on the Miztón discovery,
to be followed by other wells either appraising
further finds or exploring undrilled prospects.
CEO Claudio Descalzi said: “The Amoca
field…represents an optimal opportunity for
a phased development approach with a low
breakeven. It is an ideal project in this low oil
Descalzi added that “Eni’s objective is to
become the first international company to
establish operating production in Mexico,
which would be the first tangible success of
the country’s ‘Reforma energetica’ campaign.”
But the biggest news – which also came in
mid-July – was when Talos Energy reported
that its first exploration well offshore Mexico
has discovered potentially large oil volumes in
the Zama prospect. Results indicate in-place oil in
the range of 1. 4-2 Bbbl, above pre-drill estimates,
and the structure could extend into a neighboring
block. Tests of hydrocarbon samples recovered
to the surface revealed light oil, with API gravities
between 28° and 30° and some associated gas.
The ENSCO 8503 semisubmersible drilling
rig spudded the Zama- 1 well in block 7 in the
Initial analysis suggests the well intersected
a contiguous gross oil-bearing interval of more
than 1,100 ft (335 m), with 558-656 ft (170-200
m) of net oil pay in Upper Miocene sand-
stones, and no water contact.
At present, the well has reached an initial shallow TVD of around 11,100 ft ( 3,383 m). A liner is
being set to protect the discovered reservoirs,
prior to drilling deeper exploratory objectives
to a TVD of roughly 14,000 ft ( 4,200 m).
There are no plans for immediate well testing, and further evaluation will be needed to
calibrate the well with reprocessed seismic in
order to determine future plans and optimal
follow up locations for delineation drilling.
Talos Energy is in partnership with Sierra
Oil and Gas and Premier Oil in blocks 2 and
7, respectively offshore the Veracruz and
The dramatic results of the Zama- 1 well led
CNH to delay its next deepwater auction by a
month, to give international bidders more time
to evaluate recent major crude discoveries that
highlight the potential value of the assets. The
commission has now set Jan. 31 as the date
for the next round of auctions for deepwater
oil and gas tenders in the Gulf of Mexico.
The round 2. 4 auctions will offer 30 areas,
of which 10 are in the Cordilleras Mexicanas deepwater basin, 10 others in the Salina
basin, nine in the Perdido Fold Belt off the
US-Mexico maritime border, and one more
in the Yucatan platform.
The Cordilleras Mexicanas deepwater basin
is home to national oil company PEMEX’s
Lakach natural gas project, and is located
east of the Gulf Coast port of Veracruz. Cor-
dilleras Mexicanas is viewed by the oil and
gas industry as having extensive untapped
potential. The auction will be the first time the
basin has been made available to international
oil majors, which for decades have profitably
developed other fields in nearby US waters.
Mexico’s first deepwater oil auction last December included blocks from the Perdido Fold
Belt straddling the US-Mexico maritime border,
and the Salina basin further to the south.
BOEM to offer 76 million
acres in Lease Sale 249
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
(BOEM) says it will offer 75.9 million acres
offshore Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ala-
bama, and Florida for oil and gas exploration
and development in Lease Sale 249.
The region-wide lease sale scheduled for
Aug. 16, 2017, will include all available unleased
areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico
and provide a reduced royalty rate for shallow-
water leases to encourage exploration and
production under current market conditions.
Lease Sale 249 will include about 14,220 un-
leased blocks, located from 3 to 231 mi ( 5 to 372
km) offshore, in the Gulf’s Western, Central and
Eastern planning areas in water depths ranging
from 9 to more than 11,115 ft ( 3 to 3,400 m).
Excluded from the lease sale are blocks
subject to the Congressional moratorium established by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security
Act of 2006; blocks that are adjacent to or beyond the US Exclusive Economic Zone in the
area known as the northern portion of the East-
ern Gap; and whole blocks and partial blocks
within the current boundary of the Flower
Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Scheduled to be livestreamed from New Orleans, this will be the first offshore sale under
the national Outer Continental Shelf Oil and
Gas Leasing Program for 2017-2022. Under
this program, 10 region-wide lease sales are
scheduled for the Gulf. Two lease sales will
be held each year and include all available
blocks in the combined Western, Central,
and Eastern Gulf of Mexico planning areas. •
Results from an exploration well in the Zama prospect in block 7 in the Sureste basin indicate in-place oil in the range of 1. 4-2 Bbbl, above pre-drill estimates. Results also suggest that the structure
could extend into a neighboring block. (Courtesy Premier Oil)