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Pemex's oil, natural gas production declines in November

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Mexico City — The downward trend in output from Mexico's state oil company Pemex continued in November as oil and gas production fell 2.7% and 2.3% respectively, from the previous month, company data showed Wednesday.

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November oil production fell by 47,500 b/d month on month to 1.71 million b/d. Year on year, production fell by 150,000 b/d. This was the lowest production level since 1980, according to data from Mexico's National Hydrocarbon Commission (CNH).

Lower production came primarily from two offshore business units, Ku-Maloob-Zaap (KMZ) and Tabasco Offshore region. KMZ's output fell by 19,000 b/d to 843,470 b/d in November.

Pemex has not yet published November's production broken down by field. However, total output at the Ku, Maloob and Zaap fields decreased by 30,000 b/d year on year to 792,540 b/d in October.

These three fields are entering into their terminal decline phase after reaching a yearly average peak production of 854,000 b/d in 2013.

Meanwhile, production at KMZ's other fields including Ayatzil increased by 24,800 b/d during the same period to 135,600 b/d.

Production at Tabasco Offshore region fell by 35,360 b/d month on month in November. In this business unit, Xanab is the field where production has dropped the most on year in offshore Tabasco.

As a result of a water invasion in the shallow-water field, Xanab's year-over-year production fell by 97,800 b/d to 61,00 b/d in October.

Nov 2017 Oct 2018 Nov 2018
Crude oil (b/d) 1.866 million 1.764 million 1.716 million
Natural gas (w/o nitrogen) 4.01 billion 3.85 billion 3.76 billion
Crude processing 609,000 485,000 519,000
Gasoline production (b/d) 183,731 171,600 177,600
Gasoline imports (b/d) 682,000 585,600 585,600
Dry gas production (b/d) 2.73 billion 2.66 billion 2.67 billion
Dry gas sales 2.41 billion 1.96 billion 1.72 billion

NEW GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO REVERSE DOWNWARD PRODUCTION TREND

Going forward, Pemex's oil production is projected to continue decreasing unless the company increases activity significantly, according to the administration of Mexico's new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office on December 1.

Without a strategic shift, production from existing fields will fall to 1.52 million b/d by December 2019, according to a company document released earlier this month.

To avoid this decrease in output, the new administration plans to increasePemex's production by completing wells and carrying major work-overs that will yield 245,000 b/d.

Also, Pemex will bring 85,000 b/d of new production from fields discovered in recent years. These efforts will push Pemex's output to 2 million b/d by December 2019, the company document showed.

Analysts have been skeptical that Pemex will achieve this aggressive plan because of a limited budget to carry out all the programs envisioned by the new administration.

The company's natural gas output, excluding nitrogen, fell by 90 MMcf/d month on month in November to 3.76 Bcf/d, because of lower associated gas production from the Macuspana-Muspac business unit in southern onshore Mexico.

Month-over-month production at Macuspana-Muspac fell by 50.8 MMcf/d. Also, gas production from the KMZ and Cantarell business units fell by 48 MMcf/d month over month to 1.01 Bcf/d.

Pemex's total dry gas production remained stable in November at 2.67 Bcf/d compared with the previous month. However, the company's gas sales fell by 205 MMcf/d month over month in November.

Gas sales have decreased by 700 MMcf/d year over year amid growing competition in this market from private companies and state power utility CFE.

-- Daniel Rodriguez, daniel.rodriguez@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Jennifer Pedrick, newsdesk@spglobal.com