MEXICO CITY, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- New discoveries made off the eastern coast of Mexico have the potential to produce more than 20,000 barrels of oil per day, the state energy company said.
Mexican state oil company Petróleos Mexicanos said it made two oil discoveries in the deep waters of its territory of the Gulf of Mexico and four in the shallow waters, which could combine for a potential production rate of around 22,000 barrels of oil per day. All told, the discoveries contain, at the high end, an estimated 200 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's is moving to draw private investors to the state energy sector after more than 70 years of a monopoly controlled by state-run Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. Last year, the government auctioned off rights to 14 tracts covering an estimated 2,600 square miles with reserve estimates of around 686 million barrels of oil equivalent, with most of that existing as light crude oil.
Mexico, meanwhile, aims to produce around 3.5 million bpd by 2025, through a series of reforms that include the privatization of the state-controlled oil company. Pemex is among those companies reassessing its options, however, given the low price for crude oil and the country as a whole is faced with declining production in part because of the market pressures.
The company said in a statement its investments will focus largely on those areas with the potential for higher returns and it will give priority to those projects that "strengthen production in the short and medium term."
For its new Gulf of Mexico prospects, the company said those build the appeal for a strategy to farm out some of the work and look for potential partners to share in the risks offshore.
According to researchers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, production from Mexico in July was the lowest in 20 years and steep cuts from Pemex meant the company was forced to shut down some its low-profile fields.
Pemex offered no estimate of the start of production for its new finds.