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The rhetoric is heating up, but most of it is a coverup for the hard facts. Cantarell is continuing on its inevitable decline.
  • Pemex May Squeeze Extra 3 Billion Barrels From Cantarell Field [2009 April 20]
  • Pemex’s Cantarell Drops at Fastest Rate in 14 Years [2009 February 20]
How will Mexico cope with this?

Mexico - Cantarell crashing, by Tom Whipple, Peak Oil Review [2007 January 29]

"On Friday PEMEX made it official. Production from Mexico's largest oilfield, Cantarell, fell from 1.99 million b/d in January 2006 to 1.44 million b/d in December. The company's overall crude production in December was 2.98 million b/d, falling below 3 million barrels for the first time in six years. Nearly a year ago, a leaked internal PEMEX study forecast that under the best-case scenario Cantarell's production would fall to 1.54 million barrels a day by the end of 2006 -- almost exactly what happened."
UPDATE 2-Pemex says future output steady from key oil fields Reuters [2006 October 9]
[Yes, that's fine, but...] "Output at Cantarell dropped around 10 percent in first half of 2006, more than expected."

Potential Impact of Cantarell's Decline on Mexico's Oil Production, posted by Khebab in The Oil Drum [2006 July 14]

"In 2005, Cantarell produced more than 60% of Mexico's oil production. Therefore, Cantarell can be considered as the "Ghawar" of Mexico. As we can see on Fig. 1, Cantarell's output doubled within a few years thanks to Nitrogen injection. However, the oilfield production has started to decline rapidly since 2004..."

Counting on Cantarell, from RigZone [2006 July 6]

The majority of Mexico's oil output comes from the Cantarell oilfield, which is located in the Bay of Campeche, about 85 km from Ciudad del Carmen. The Cantarell complex is actually composed of four major fields, Akal, Nohoch, Chac, and Kutz, of which Akal is the largest and most important. The field initially had an estimated 35 billion barrels of oil in place, of which about 18 billion barrels are expected to be recovered.

The Akal field was discovered in 1976, with a well that flowed 34,000 bopd. The field was put into production in 1979, and by 1981, the field was producing 1.16 million bpd from 40 wells, which is about 29,000 barrels from each well. By 1994, production had declined to about 900,000 bpd. In 1997, Pemex began a program of nitrogen injection that helped to greatly increase production from Cantarell, raising production from 1.6 mbpd in 1997 to over 2.1 mbpd in 2003.

In 2001, each of the wells in the Cantarell complex produced an average of over 9,000 barrels of oil per day. These wells are excellent producers, producing about 9 times as much as the average Mexican oil well, which averages about 1,000 bopd. As such, getting oil out of Cantarell has been very cheap for Pemex. Congressman Francisco Carrillo Soberón, a member of a legislative energy commission, said it costs between $2 and $3 to get a barrel of crude out of Cantarell.

Pemex has indicated that production from the Cantarell field has peaked and is set to decline in 2006. With rather steep declines of 14 to 16% in the next several years, it has been estimated that the Cantarell field will only be producing about 1 million bopd by the end of 2008.

Análisis histórico del cenit de la producción petrolera mundial, por Armando Páez García [2006 Junio]

"El agotamiento de las reservas de hidrocarburos no sólo es un tema de tecnología petrolera de última generación, sino de sostenibilidad de las instituciones de gobierno, de los asentamientos humanos y de los sistemas agropecuarios y pesqueros."

Para 2006 se reducirá 17% restitución de reservas de crudo, calcula Pemex, No existe certeza de que en el pozo Noxal I haya 10 mil millones de barriles: Morales Gil, por Victor Cardoso [2006 Marzo 30]

A partir de este año Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) elevará su producción de crudo hasta 3.5 millones de barriles al día; no obstante que la tasa de restitución de reservas caerá en 17.2 por ciento y el principal yacimiento del país, Cantarell, comenzará a registrar un declive de 13 por ciento, revelan informes oficiales de la paraestatal.
Cantarell — An Omen?, by Tom Whipple, Falls Church News-Press [2006 February 16-22]
"Last week, somebody leaked the top secret PEMEX Cantarell Depletion study, and guess what? ... It seems there is only 825 feet between the gas cap over the oil and the water that is pushing into Cantarell from the bottom. This distance is closing at between 250 and 360 feet per year. The more pessimistic of the study's scenarios have Cantarell's production dropping from 2 million b/d to 875 thousand barrels a day by the end of next year and 520 thousand barrels a day by the end of 2008."
Can Oil Still Power Portfolios?, by Will Frankenhoff [2006 February 16]
"Mexico is in the same boat. Its largest field, Cantarell, which provides 60% of its total production, has gone into irreversible decline this year. Its rate of decline should accelerate to an annual 15% over the next few years. OPEC member Indonesia is even more of a basket case, recently shifting from a net exporter to a net importer."
Analysis: Mexico faces sharp drop in oil production, by Carmen J. Gentile, United Press International [2006 February 15]
"Mexico is facing a possible steep decline in oil production in 2006 and beyond due to setbacks at its largest oilfield, experts have warned. A recent study conducted by Mexico's state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, says output could be threatened at its largest oilfield due to encroaching water and gas. When gas or water enters an oilfield it contaminates the supply, making it more difficult to sell on the market, energy analysts say.

"The Cantarell field is Mexico's largest source of crude, producing 2 million barrels per day, or 60 percent of Mexico's total output. Any threat to its production capacity would severely hamper Mexico's already-strapped oil sector and thwart U.S. plans to decrease American dependency on Middle Eastern oil, as espoused by President George W. Bush in his State of the Union address last month. (Canada and Mexico are the largest suppliers of oil to the United States.) Pemex officials have expressed confidence, however, that the company can make up for any setbacks it might experience in the coming years."

Towards an Oil Depletion Agenda: Sustainability, the Construction of International Problems, and The Uppsala Protocol By Armando Paez (M.A. in Anthropology and Development), Theomai Journal, Num. 12. [2005 Second semester]
"... [W]hile a group of respected scientists, The Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas (ASPO), publishes a monthly newsletter since January 2001 analyzing the oil depletion problem, respected scientists that work with or in the United Nations (UN) do not write a word about this..."

See also La dimensión sociopolítica del fin del petróleo: Desafíos a la sostenibilidad, por Armando Páez [2002]

"This essay criticizes the concept of sustainable development since it does not consider the end of oil."
[More sources of Peak Oil information in Spanish from Armando Páez]
New Pemex head finds barrels of problems, Reuters News Service [2001 May 9]

Alzati Propone Reventar la Producción Petrolera, México y el equipo de transición del presidente electo Vicente Fox, por Fabio Barbosa [2000 agosto 1]

  • Un Nuevo Macroproyecto de Inyección de Nitrógeno.
  • Ahora Van Sobre el Segundo Complejo, Después de Canterell.
  • ¿Ofuscación, Desesperación por Dólares o Primera Concesión de Fox a las Presiones del Imperialismo Yanqui?
  • ¿Reeditaremos la Experiencia de Saturar el Mercado, Abatir Precios e Incrementar el Endeudamiento?

Mexico's $10.5 billion oil bet begins to see the light [2000 August 7]

"CAMPECHE SOUND: Sprouting up from the cobalt seas of the southern Gulf of Mexico, orange flames leap into the sky amid a scattering of oil rigs - the only surface evidence of Mexico's $10.5 billion oil gamble. The Cantarell project ... has pioneered an untried nitrogen-injection programme to boost field pressure. The underwater oil field, the world's sixth-largest, is not a new find. Discovered in 1976, the deposit has for decades supplied half or more of the overall oil output of Mexico, one of the top three crude exporters to the United States. But a few years ago, internal well pressure levels began to slip at Cantarell, and along with them oil volumes and productivity per well...."
When will oil begin to decline in Mexico? Government figures indicate that all but light crude is already in decline. (See graph at right) [2007 February 16]

Mexico's Petroleum Exports: Safe Collateral for a $50 Billion Loan? [1996 June 30]

"Mexico Lied About Proven Oil Reserves, Report Says"
Los Angeles Times Archives, from Reuters [1991 December 10]

"Mexico, one of the world's leading oil exporters, will have to import large amounts of crude within 10 years, according to a report that says the government has lied about the country's proven reserves."
Compare the percentage of exports in relation to total "production" of oil in Mexico from the Mexican government's energy statistics. Also, compare the revenues of Pemex to the revenues of Mexico: What contribution does Pemex make to total government revenues?
Mexico Oil Production (Source: Economagic)

Mexican Natural Gas Production. (Click on image to see it full-size.)

Overall Energy and Per Capita Energy (Note that per capita energy consumption peaked in the early 1980's.)
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