• IHS Markit identifies Mexico’s Tampico-Misantla area as a potential “super basin”
  • Onshore/shallow water area is “unexplored” and could hold 2.5 billion BOE in conventional resources
  • Basin could contribute to offsetting Mexico’s declining production

Mexico’s Tampico-Misantla basin has been identified as a potential “global onshore super basin” in new research released by IHS Markit. The business intelligence firm included the basin, which stretches from the South of Tamaulipas to Veracruz, in a list of 24 areas highlighted in a report titled Super Basins: The Basins that Keep on Giving.

The Tampico-Misantla basin (Image: IHS Markit)

Tampico-Misantla passes the “super basin” test

“In searching for super basins, we looked for at least 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) in conventional remaining reserves in basins that had already produced at least 5 billion BOE,” said Chief Upstream Strategist at IHS Markit and a lead author of the report Robert Fryklund in a recent press release by IHS Markit.

Mexico’s Tampico-Misantla passed the test, clocking up 7.4 billion BOE in production with 5.3 billion BOE still remaining in discovered conventional fields. The figures do not take into account unconventional potential, a hot topic given the underdeveloped nature of Mexico’s shale sector.

According to IHS Markit, the basin remains under-explored, and could hold up to 2.5 billion BOE in multiple conventional fields. “Between the remaining reserves in existing fields, conventional exploration potential, and opportunities in shale and other tight reservoirs, the basin offers something for everyone—a diversity of upstream opportunities for large and small companies, national oil companies and investors,” Fryklund said.

An opportunity for Mexico

At the moment, PEMEX is the only operator active in the basin, but financial and technical challenges lie ahead for the Mexican NOC to develop its whole potential, says Alejandra Leon, Mexico energy analyst at IHS Markit. The challenge, she says, is to increase the number of operators in the zone and improve the fiscal terms involved in winning blocks located there.

Despite the challenges ahead, IHS Markit’s Senior Vice President for Global Energy, Carlos Pascual, sees an opportunity to offset Mexico’s declining oil production, which has been falling for the past 12 years. “The Tampico-Misantla Basin could help offset a declining Mexican production supply profile in the near-to medium-term, much like the Permian Basin has done for the US,” Pascual said.



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