MEXICO CITY, July 22 (UPI) -- Mexico's state-owned company Petroleos Mexicanos, better known as Pemex, is seeking to increase production at its Ku Maloob Zaap field by 17 percent in four years.
Ku Maloob Zaap is Pemex's largest oil producing field, at 850,000 barrels a day helping Pemex become one of the world's largest oil and natural gas conglomerates.
Pemex is looking to increase production at Ku Maloob Zaap to 1 million barrels a day by 2015, El Economista reported.
Pemex said that its June crude oil production was 2.547 million barrels a day. The Ku Maloob Zaap field is Mexico's southern Gulf of Mexico offshore waters.
Pemex has four operating subsidiaries: Exploration and Production, Gas and Basic Petrochemicals, Petrochemicals and Refining.
Last year Mexico was the world's seventh-largest oil producer, the third-largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The U.S. Energy Administration said the United States total crude oil imports now list Mexico as the United State's second largest source of imports, at 1.3 million barrels per day, exceeded only by Canada.
Oil exports are a crucial element underpinning Mexico's economy. Last year, oil exports provided 14 percent of the country's export earnings, Banco de Mexico statistics indicate.
Mexico City relies on earnings from the oil industry, which includes taxes and direct payments from Pemex, for 32 percent of total government revenues.
While Mexico nationalized its oil industry in 1938, earlier this year Mexico solicited bids for performance-based contracts on its country's offshore oil blocks. That allowed participation by foreign oil companies for the first time in seven decades.
The conditions are hardly the most favorable as those usually sought by multinational energy firms, however, since foreign investing firms will have no ownership rights over any oil they produce.
Mexican authorities said they are still optimistic that even under the constrained arrangements enough foreign capital will be found to provide Mexican fields with needed technological improvements.
Mexico's primary oil extraction occurs in offshore in the Gulf of Mexico's Bay of Campeche. Pemex's two main production centers in Campeche are the Cantarell and Ku Maloob Zaap offshore fields, with smaller amounts of offshore oil also being produced from fields off the coast of Tabasco state.
Production from the Cantarell field has been declining for several years, which is the likely factor motivating Pemex's new flexible attitude toward foreign investment.