Fri Aug 17, 2012, 11:24 AM
Javaman (43,539 posts)
Mexico's big oil problem
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Mexico, one of the largest suppliers of oil to the United States, has a big problem: Its production of crude is falling fast.
In 2008, the country's production peaked at 3.2 million barrels a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Last year, it didn't even produce 3 million a day.
The reason: aging oil fields and years of underinvestment.
Industry experts say Mexico could revive production if it allowed more investment from international oil companies. But under current policy, EIA says Mexico will have to start importing oil by 2020.
more at link...
3 replies, 761 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Mexico's big oil problem (Original post)
Response to jwirr (Reply #2)
Thu Aug 23, 2012, 09:49 AM
happyslug (12,924 posts)
3. Mexico is long past peak...
The problem with Mexico is that it has one of the few "Elephant" size fields ever found. Cantarell Field The other fields are not only smaller, but require a lot of wells to fully exploit.
Comments on Mexico's reserves:
Side note: The above article mention how badly Mexico has expanded oil production in the Chicontepec Field, but ignores the problem of how to process the heavy crude coming from that field
More on Chicontepec field:
Texas has most of the refineries capable of processing heavy crude oil, but even in Texas most of the Oil Refiners are still set for "Sweet and Light" Crude NOT "Heavy" Crude. Thus production may NOT be the problem, fining a place to take the heavy crude to refine may be the biggest restriction. Venezuela has even more such Heavy Crude, most of the recent increase in Saudi Arabia Oil production has been Heavy crude, even the Shale Oil from Canada is Heavy crude (Which is chief reason for the pipeline from Alberta to Texas, to get the heavy oil to the refineries that can process the heavy crude). Thus the restriction MAY not be finding, drilling or even pumping the oil, but finding a place to refine it at.
Yes, one of the problem with oil today, is the oil coming on line can NOT be processed by most of the Refineries that exist today. It will take another 5-10 years for the Refineries to adapt themselves to handle the Sour and Heavy Crude now coming into the Market. At the same time there is enough "Sweat and Light" Crude to keep these refineries running, which delays any conversion. Thus conversion will be slow, driven by the drop in the production of "Sweat and Light" crude and the need for the refineries to find a product to refine. As production of "Sweat and Light" crude dries up, refiners will make the conversion, but only when they can no longer get "Sweat and Light" Crude. This has happened to Texas over the last 50 years (due to a preference for US production, which force the switch to start decades ago) but is only now hitting the rest of the world.
As to Cantatrell, which produces "Sweet and Light" crude oil. Cantarell was discovered in 1976 and at peak was producing 2.1 million barrels of oil a day. It has been in decline since 2003 and is now producing only 464,000 barrels per day (an over 75% drop in production). Given that Mexico was dependent for Cantarell for almost all of its oil at Cantarell's peak, it is amazing that Mexico is still exporting oil given how far Cantarell has dropped in production.
Some of the lost in production from Cantarell has been made up in the related field of Ku-Maloob-Zaap. Through Ku-Maloob-Zaap was discovered in 1979, full development did not occur till Cantarell production started to fall. Ku-Maloob-Zaap is producing over 800,000 barrels a day, less then half what Cantarell produced at its peak production. The problem this seems to be the limit for Ku-Maloob-Zaap, limit that is only expected to last till 2018 at which point it will rapidly decline.
The reason for this is both fields were the result of the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs. It is now believed that meteor hit that part of the Gulf of Mexico between the Yucatan Peninsula and Veracruz. A side affect of that hit was that all of the oil in the area drained to a central location that became the Cantarell oil field. Ku-Maloob-Zaap seems to be part of that same process, but a smaller collection of oil then Cantarell.
The main area of oil in Mexico in on the Yucatan Peninsula itself, but these fields tend to be very small but together is a large amount of oil (Much like Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma etc, a lot of little fields, some large but no Elephants. Unlike Cantarell and Ku-Maloob-Zaap (Where all you had to do is put is just a few pumps to get all the oil) these fields will need almost the same number of pumps as Cantarell, but each field will produce less then a 1/10th of the oil. Mexico knew this decades ago, given the costs to develop such fields and the existence of Cantarell it was NOT viewed as cost effective. With the decline of Cantarell, Mexico is looking into those fields.
Side note: The Article mention that Mexico does not want foreign oil companies in its oil production. That is NOT true, Mexico has always shipped its oil to Texas to be refined and shipped back to Mexico for use. Mexico has permitted private companies to drill wells and do other work with the wells. What Mexico objects to is actual ownership of the oil. That is what Mexico objects to (and is in its Constitution) and is what people are "Complaining" about in the cited article. The Oil Companies want to OWN the oil and Mexico says NO.
Thus, Mexico (the Second biggest exporter of oil into the US) and Canada (Today the biggest exporter of oil into the US) make up most of the US Imports since the US became a net importer of oil in early 1970s. Saudi Arabia is the number three source (Which is shares with Venezuela, depending on where we are importing oil from on any given day). Venezuela, like Mexico exports a lot of oil to Texas, where it is refined, and then re-imports for domestic use. This is done by sea going barges given that, except for hurricanes, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea are relatively calm.
Remember the three biggest oil producers of oil are Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US. These thre have been the big three since the 1960s (With the US being number one producer till the 1980s, long after the US became a net importer of oil). Russia and Saudi Arabia position varied from #2 to # 3 till the 1980s, when both passed the US and varied as to who was the #1 world wide oil producer and who was #2 till this vary day (US is still a very strong #3). Exporters of oil has been Saudi Arabia since the 1960s, followed by Norway in the 1990s (Now it is Iran, Norway's exports have followed the decline in North Sea Oil production since 1999).
List of net oil exporters:
1...Saudi Arabia...............8,336...... Production is steady, consumption is steady
2...Russia........................7,083......Production is slightly down, consumption is steady
3...Iran............................2,540.... Production is steady, consumption is up
4...United Arab Emirates....2,524.... Production is steady, consumption is up
5...Kuwait.......................2,343.... Production is steady, consumption is up a lot
6...Nigeria.......................2,257.... Production is down, consumption is up
7...Iraq..........................1,915....Production is up, consumption is up
8...Norway......................1,762....Production is down, Consumption is steady.
9...Angola.......................1,760....Production is up, consumption is up
10...Venezuela..................1,715....Production is down, consumption is up
11...Algeria......................1,568.... Production is steady, consumption is up
12...Qatar........................1,468.... Production is up, consumption is up
13...Canada.....................1,425.... Production is up, consumption is steady
14...Kazakhstan................1,396.... Production is up, consumption is steady
15...Mexico...........................881.... Production is down, Consumption is up.
The above is from 2009, Production, except in Saudi Arabia has dropped since the above in most places, while consumption has continued a world wide tread upward (Except in the US, where consumption dropped over 12 % which lead to an over all world wide drop in consumption if the US is counted, but a world wide INCREASE if you exclude the US).
The US drop in consumption leading to a world wide drop in consumption points out how much oil the US uses compared to the rest of the world. The states of the Former Soviet Union have about the same total population as the US, yet its is an oil exporter and was in the 1980s when the US was producing more oil then the USSR and again when both had about the same population. Most of the world do NOT use Automobiles like the US, and thus do not have the oil usage of the US. Which is why the US, while still one of the top three oil PRODUCERS, has been a net importer of oil since 1969.