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Italy's Eni finds millions of barrels of oil offshore Mexico

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Italian energy company Eni said it discovered millions of barrels of oil off the eastern coast of Mexico. Photo courtesy of Eni
Italian energy company Eni said it discovered millions of barrels of oil off the eastern coast of Mexico. Photo courtesy of Eni

March 17 (UPI) -- Roughly 200 million barrels of oil may rest in the Yatzil reservoir off the eastern coast of Mexico, Italian energy company Eni said Friday.

Eni made the discovery in the broader Sureste Basin offshore Mexico. Consultant group Wood Mackenzie said the area holds some of the largest crude oil deposits in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Yatzil marked the eighth successful well in the Sureste basin and the company said it had "excellent petrophysical properties."

The Italian company said Mexico was one its core areas of growth and it's already producing more than 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. All eight of the exploration and production blocks held by Eni, meanwhile, are in the Sureste Basin.

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Rystad Energy, a Norwegian consultant group, estimates the offshore oil and gas sector is gearing up for its best decade in years, with $214 billion in new investments expected. If the forecast proves accurate, Rystad expects investments will top $100 billion as early as this year for the first time since the start of the previous decade.

Rystad estimates that offshore accounts for about 68% of total production through next year, up from around 40% between 2015 and 2018. In terms of new developments, the consultant group said offshore accounts for about half of the projects already sanctioned over the next two years, nearly double the rate from the period ending in 2018.

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Mexico is the second-largest crude oil exporter to the United States behind Canada, delivering an average of 650,000 bpd north. That's about 200,000 bpd more than the U.S. economy gets from Saudi Arabia, the No. 3 exporter.

RELATED Gulf of Mexico oil and gas auction set for March 29

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