The following is the third in a series of summaries of each presentation and panel that took place during the Mexico Oil and Gas Summit last Tuesday, July 1st in the Sheraton María Isabel in Mexico City. To download the speaker’s presentations which have been approved for public distribution so far, click here.
Luis Vielma Lobo, President and Director General of CBM Ingeniería Exploración y Producción drew on his extensive experience across Latin America to praise Mexico’s Energy Reform. He said that both he and other senior oil executives had been surprised by the depth of the Energy Reform and said it surpassed similar efforts seen in Colombia and Ecuador. He said that the optimism shared by these executives is a powerful symbol of the intentions of their companies, and others, to participate in the Mexican oil and gas sector.
Vielma Lobo pointed to SENER studies that placed Mexico in the top 5 countries worldwide for shale gas and oil. These opportunities are bound to attract a lot of international capital, so CBM is now part of the efforts to match Mexican fields with the technologies they need. “For example, mature fields do not need complex technology, medium technology is used for associated fields like Chicontepec, and finally, the challenges associated with deepwater require the most complex technology,” said Vielma Lobo.
He explained that Mexico’s recovery factors are below those of US fields, showing the need for improved recovery techniques. He provided the example of fields containing shale gas, where companies will look for sweet spots with a substantial accumulation of resources. Seismic studies, such as those that implement 3D technology, will be the key to finding these sweet spots.
The right drilling technologies must also be taken into consideration, given their environmental impact. In the US, certain states have harsher regulations, impacting the location of clusters and the ability to fracture wells from the start to improve efficiency. As such, Mexico will have to measure how and where these should be deployed, to avoid unpleasant environmental side effects.
The third kind of technology is associated with deepwater sites. Given the amount of investment needed to drill in deepwater, 3D scanning and imaging technology play an important role in helping companies strike the jackpot from the start. Vielma Lobo pointed to Petrobras as having pioneered drilling solutions to avoid unnecessary steps, and when dealing with tricky geologic formations. Robotics have also allowed the development of subsea facilities that outpace conventional methods. “All these technologies are looking to maximize the value creation for anyone who wants to invest in these regions,” he said.
As such, SENER and CNH have to match operators with companies to generate the best profit and yield possible. Leading third-party companies are already experts in extracting shale gas from reservoirs due to their experience, according to Vielma Lobo. “They know from the outset how to define the spacing of clusters, the well architecture, at what speed to extract, and how to be environmentally and socially responsible. These elements are what will make the difference. The design must be done immediately to allow for injection methods and artificial lifting of heavy oil to be possible. Mexico has a wealth of expertise for such operations, but the challenge is to understand the characteristics of each particular well in a variety of fields.” For Vielma Lobo, the availability of drilling equipment and of new facilities matching those of PEMEX will prove seminal in creating the right spirit of competition in post Energy-Reform Mexico.