Pemex invests in gas upstream as rival LNG projects progress

Monday, 07 March 2022
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Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the Mexican oil and gas company, is currently struggling to emerge from the economic slowdown amid widening losses at a time when several LNG export projects are moving forward in the country. CEO Alberto Velazquez told analysts Capex for 2022 will focus on exploration with 18 wells due completed in the first quarter.

Production will be led by the Ixachi, Quesqui and Mulach fields with 18 wells as Pemex aims to boost output to 1.903 million barrels of oil and associated natural gas per day in 2022, 1.971 million barrels a day in 2023 and 2.063 million barrels a day in 2024.

Pemex said it was working to boost natural gas output partly through improving gas capture rates. Natural gas production in the fourth quarter was 3.72 billion cubic feet per day, an 2.3 percent rise compared with the same period in 2020. Non-associated gas production was up 9.1 percent, led by the Ixachi field which grew 106 million cubic feet per day from a year earlier. Natural gas capture showed a slight improvement and reached 88.1 percent in the fourth quarter.

The state-run company also reported that its debts fell slightly by 0.7 percent to $109 billion, though it remains the world’s most indebted state energy company.

The woes of Pemex continue as LNG export projects move forward, though involving US and non-state companies: Mexico-Pacific Ltd (MPL), based in Houston in Texas, is developing an LNG export facility on the Pacific Coast using US natural gas as the feed gas and installing processing technology from ConocoPhillips. This Mexican LNG export plant is proposed for near Puerto Libertad in the northwest state of Sonora and would have just over 14 mtpa of output.

Another plant is the Costa Azul facility, an existing import terminal in the West Coast state of Baja California currently being transformed into an export plant by US utility Sempra Energy. 

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