PEMEX has just declared its intentions to return a number of previously granted operative fields to the Ministry of Energy (SENER), arguing a lack of resources to operate them. This includes 95 fields that were allocated to the NOC without having been requested and an unknown number of fields that were solicited in the Round Zero application. According to Gustavo Hernández, Managing Director of PEMEX E&P, the total cost of operating the extra areas assigned is difficult to calculate as they are distributed all over the country, and include offshore and onshore fields. He is concerned that the company’s resources might not be sufficient for the effective operation of the blocks. “We are planning to give the fields back to the government so it can decide on the most appropriate course of action, whether that be a new tender, retention of the fields, or the acquisition of a new partner to work with us,” says Hernández.
The Energy Reform states that PEMEX must become a productive enterprise of the State with a diversified portfolio and with the fundamental objective of generating revenue through its operations. Round Zero is one of the ways in which the Energy Reform promotes the achievement of this goal, and involves allowing the parastatal to request fields for extraction and explorations activities, before inviting other companies to bid. In March 2014, PEMEX asked for 83% of the total proven (1P) and probable (2P) national reserves and 31% of the total possible (3P) reserves. After review by the Ministry of Energy and CNH in August, the NOC obtained approval for 100% of the 2P reserves requested in its proposal and 68% of the solicited 3P reserves. This corresponded to 489 fields allocated to PEMEX: 108 for exploration and 381 for extraction.
The decision to allocate that number of fields was made by SENER subject to various parameters, including an evaluation of PEMEX’s technical, financial, and operational capacities. However, according to Leticia Armenta, an energy expert from ITESM, the fact that the NOC is now looking to return some of those fields evidences a clear lack of technology and financial resources. Nonetheless, it must be noted that PEMEX’s announcement has been made within a global context of low oil prices, and the fact that Mexican oil is at its lowest price since December 2008 has lowered the projected revenues for the company over the last few months.
Sources: SENER official website and Reforma Newspaper