Talanza Energy Consulting

mayo, 2019

Pemex’s farm-outs: The big opportunity

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In February’s one-pager, we stated that López Obrador’s administration will realize sooner or later of  the necessity of private investment in upstream activities just as the two former administrations did  during the last 12 years. Today, we believe that “sooner” will prevail as we have identified clear signals  that farm-outs will be reopened soon representing a major opportunity for oil and gas operators as Pemex has been struggling in developing the largest oil and gas potential in Mexico.

1.- PEMEX’S CURRENT FINANCIAL, TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT CAPABILITIES

In August 2014, Pemex was awarded with 83% of Mexico’s 2P Reserves and 21% of Estimated Resources  through a process known as Round Zero regulated by the Mexican Constitution where Pemex should  request only the areas for which it has financial, technical and management capabilities. This request was  evaluated by the Ministry of Energy (“SENER”) and the National Hydrocarbons Commission (“CNH”)  and, as a result, Pemex was awarded with 489 blocks (108 for exploration and 381 for extraction).

After five years and 72 entitlements modified, it is clear that Round Zero was too much for Pemex to  handle. According to SENER, by the end of 2018, 65 of 101 exploratory entitlements have not fulfilled  their work commitments and 136 of 259 extraction entitlements have no activities.

Pemex’s financial, technical and management capabilities were insufficient to stop declining production and to maintain 2P reserves awarded in Round Zero (20,589 mmboe in 2014 drop 34% by 2018).

2.- FARM-OUTS, THE BEST AND ONLY SOLUTION TO INCREASE PEMEX’S  EXECUTION CAPABILITIES

Last week, CNH approved an ultra-deep-water drilling permit to Pemex’s Block 5 of Perdido Area of  Round 2.4. Since Pemex has no experience in deep water development, it will be necessary to farm-out  this block in case it confirms a commercial discovery. This is a positive signal that government will reacti-  vate farm-outs soon. However, this benefits would come in the long run and the government requires  results in the short run as it needs to increase production by 700,000 barrels per day in 5 years.

Considering that CAPEX of the last 10 years (average of 17 billion from 2009 to 2015 and an average of 10  billion from 2016 to 2019) was not enough to stop declining production; it seems impossible to achieve  short run results unless Pemex starts farming-out fields in development and production stages in shallow  water and onshore, where there is a vast potential of more than 2o,000 mmboe in 3P reserves.

Farm-outs would represent the greatest opportunity for private investors to partner with Pemex and, for  the government, to achieve its goals. With an adequate approach, oil and gas industry could persuade the  government that this is an excellent opportunity to relaunch an Energy Reform 2.0, where farm-outs and  Pemex would become central.

PRIVATE OPERATORS IN MEXICO  HAVE A GOOD CHANCE TO  INFLUENCE THE PROCESS OF  REACTIVATING FARM-OUTS. HERE  SOME OF OUR SUGGESTIONS:

  • Government should recognize that  Pemex has a big space to improve and  that by partnering with key operators it  could increase not only money but also  technical and management capabilities.
  • One way to start could be to establish  technical workshops to show Pemex and  government agencies the advantages of  partnerships.
  • It would be crucial to approach  government and Pemex to present new  technologies for increasing production  and reserves rapidly in specific projects  where Pemex has not obtained good  results (e.g. deep water, EOR-IOR, shale,  Chicontepec, marginal fields, others).
  • Government must recognize that service  contracts like CSIEEs will not maximize  investments, production nor oil rent.
  • Industry can help Pemex and government  to review the terms and conditions of its  JOA to increase competition in farm-out’s tenders.
  • Finally, Pemex’s farm-outs are consistent  with the political intention of Pemex’s  mission of rescuing energy sovereignty.

Thanks to our Regulatory and  Governmental Intelligence approach, we  have been successful in supporting our  clients in the integral risk assessment  (political, legal financial, social and  environmental) of their activities in  Mexico. We also advise and guide our  clients in their interactions with  government increasing effectiveness in  their governmental affairs.

Como firma internacional con presencia en Estados Unidos, México y Colombia, encaminamos empresas del sector energético hacia un correcto cumplimiento normativo y asesoramos gobiernos a diseñar e implementar regulaciones que impulsen la sostenibilidad en el largo plazo para dicha industria.
Resultado de la sinergia entre líderes Canadienses y Mexicanos, en Eminent nos especializamos en la cuantificación, control y reducción de emisiones de metano. Como pioneros en México en aplicar la tecnología OGI, potenciamos la sostenibilidad de la industria petrolera internacional.