Mexico’s Sureste Basin Returns To Super Basin Spotlight

From: Hartenergy / 6 April

HOUSTON—The flurry of bidding activity from oil and gas companies willing to shell out millions of dollars for drilling rights in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) during Mexico’s latest bidding round showed there must still be something special about the Sureste (Southeast) Basin.

“I’ve never seen a structure like it in my career,” Mark Shann, subsurface director for Sierra Oil and Gas, said of Sureste during the AAPG’s recent Global Super Basins Leadership conference.

The multiplay basin, which includes prolific sub-basins such as Sonda de Campeche and Chiapas-Tabasco, spans about 65,000 sq km and is believed to hold 50 billion barrels of recoverable oil in the GoM’s shallow water and beyond. Its oil-prone prowess gained prominence in 1976 with Mexico’s game-changing Cantarell oil field discovery. Since then the basin has served as the main hydrocarbon-bearing province for Mexico, which is working to reverse declining production with global players eagerly chomping at the bit in search of oil.

RELATED: Southeast Basin Lures Oil Companies To Mexico’s Shallow Water

The historic Zama discovery made in 2017 by a Talos Energy-led consortium that includes Sierra and Premier Oil and another discovery—Amoca—by Italy’s Eni in 2017 have kept the basin in the spotlight, indicating it still has more to give. The Zama well, the first well drilled by the private sector since Mexico opened its doors to foreign investors, hit 170 m to 200 m (558 ft to 656 ft) of net oil pay in Upper Miocene sandstones. Initial gross original oil in place estimates ranged from 1.4 billion barrels (Bbbl) to 2 Bbbl.

Some would call it the rebirth of a super basin.

Shann said the basin—along with neighboring Tampico-Misantla—has all the qualities of a super basin.

“If you’re going to go into a super basin, you need at least one fantastic source rock and it has to be a mature source rock,” Shann said. He added that multiple reservoirs are also needed. “Having multiple reservoirs takes away the dependency of one reservoir working out or not, and you need seals to hold back hydrocarbons in their reservoirs.”

Having a diversity of traps is fantastic, he added, noting other attributes also define a super basin. These include having a regulatory framework in which to make the entire business work and super data, something Shann said Sureste Basin has plenty.

“Four years ago when we started our company we couldn’t get all seismic data from the country. Today you can access all the seismic,” Shann said. “You can access any well that is older than two years, and there are 39,000 wells in the country. The ability mine data and therefore to compete on an equal level playing field is hugely important,” especially for a small company competing against supermajors.

Sierra has picked up 11,000 sq km of wide azimuth data from Schlumberger and source rock is visible, he said. “The super data has really helped to underpin a story of success in one of the world’s greatest super basins.”

Today Sierra is focused mainly on Sureste, which Shann said extends beyond shallow and into deepwater.

The company said on its website that Sureste’s original oil and gas in place is about 220 Bboe, and the fact that it has numerous mature fields—including Ku Maloob Zaap and Sihil—and little reinvestment signals “significant opportunity for growth.”

Its reservoirs are associated with structural, salt tectonics, stratigraphic and combined traps, and the main structural styles include normal faulting with rotated blocks (Late Miocene-Holocene), salt cored anticlines and salt rollers and diapirs (Jurassic-Late Cretaceous), according to Mexico’s National Hydrocarbons Commission.

In terms of source rock potential, Shann said “we’re definitely in a super basin.” He spoke about how the Zama discovery shed more light on source rock thickness. Taking into account a conservative 50% migration loss among other factors, the company was able to determine the source rock must be about 200 m thick.

Shann said the company and its partners’ plan to test the Jurassic next year.

“Sureste is one of those amazing salt-related basins,” he added, speaking highly of the carbonate potential of the basin in Mexican waters and on the U.S. side. “I think we can still find some big carbonate fields in the Campeche Slope.”

Located about 37 miles offshore, Zama is between Eni’s Amoca appraisal well in the Lower Pliocene and Pan American’s Hokchi 2 in the Middle Miocene.

“Between the three of us, we’re exploiting different parts of this basin, which helps the industry’s understanding of the whole basin,” Talos CEO Tim Duncan told Hart Energy’s Oil and Gas Investor last summer.

RELATED: Talos Energy CEO Talks About Historic Zama Well

Talos, which will merge with Stone Energy, said in its March 15 fourth-quarter earnings release that the company is in the appraisal planning stages for the Zama-1 discovery. Zama-1 is located in Block 7 of the Sureste Basin at a water depth of about 165 m.

Other exploration opportunities exist, according to Talos.

Talos holds a 35% participating interest with Sierra holding 40% and Premier, 25%.

From: Hartenergy / 6 April


¿Cuánto costó el derrame del Deepwater Horizon?

El 20 de abril de 2010, la empresa británica British Petroleum (BP) realizaba operaciones de exploración de aguas profundas en el pozo petrolero “Macondo”, ubicado a 75 kilómetros de la costa de Luisiana, cuando se produjo un escape de gas, que provocó una explosión y posteriormente un incendio que duró 36 horas y terminó con el hundimiento de la plataforma semi-sumergible Deepwater Horizon.

Las consecuencias fueron graves: millones de barriles de petróleo derramados en el mar, lo que provocó una superficie contaminada de entre 86,500 y 180,000 kilómetros cuadrados que pudo contenerse casi tres meses después de la tragedia; afectación a especies animales, algunas de ellas en peligro de extinción; el fallecimiento de 11 personas y otras más que resultaron heridas.

Este siniestro es considerado uno de los peores en la industria del petróleo, no sólo por los daños directos provocados, sino también por los perjuicios resultantes, tales como la afectación causada a las actividades pesquera y turística.

Además de BP, la empresa Transocean –propietaria de la plataforma y encargada de su mantenimiento- y Halliburton, fueron consideradas responsables del siniestro[1].

Tan sólo los pagos erogados por BP ascienden, de acuerdo con las cifras de la misma empresa, a USD 61 billones, por concepto de los costos relacionados con el derrame, limpieza, reclamaciones económicas y pagos al gobierno[2].

Adicionalmente, BP tuvo que enfrentar diversos juicios por los cargos de “negligencia grave” que le imputaron por varios demandantes.

Que una compañía del tamaño y solvencia de BP haya enfrentado problemas financieros a partir de un siniestro, demuestra que todos estamos expuestos a sufrirlos, ya que los costos de un siniestro pueden llegar a ser incalculables.

Contratar un seguro con los montos y coberturas adecuadas, es fundamental para responder por los daños y perjuicios que se puedan causar a terceros, pero además con ello el asegurado consigue el doble propósito de proteger su patrimonio.

En NRGI Broker, somos expertos en seguros petroleros. Acércate a nosotros, con gusto te atenderemos.

[1] Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center. U.S. Scientific Team Draws on New Data, Multiple Scientific Methodologies to Reach Updated Estimate of Oil Flows from BP’s Well [boletín de prensa]. 15 June 2010. Disponible en:

[2] Gulf of Mexico restoration, disponible en:




CEO of NRGI Broker

The country is developing in a new direction, so it only makes sense for companies to align themselves with this new phase. This was exactly the motivation behind Grupo Vitesse’s decision to create a specialized Energy Insurance Broker “NRGI Broker.” With over 25 years of acquired experience from PEMEX’s marine operations, the company has now chosen to reinvent itself in line with the new trends in onshore production and gas pipelines. The experience present in NRGI Broker dates back to the days when Cantarell was booming and the company has contributed in an active way by attracting international market leaders to the country.

The importance of a guide to help companies comply with the new Mexican procedures implemented by the Energy Reform is often overlooked, according to Graciela Álvarez Hoth, the company’s CEO. She explains that, before the reforms, PEMEX provided its contractors with wide coverages, so their only concern was the deductible, and as a result, clients became accustomed to the buffer that PEMEX represented. “Now, most of the companies are no longer contractors and have become operators, and naturally they need a broader experience in negotiating administrative hurdles with the authorities,” Álvarez explains.

NRGI Broker takes a proactive approach to the new regulations, allocating time to dialogues with risk managers to discuss the new market rules that will be launched, even if these have not yet been released. “Over the past year we have closely worked with the regulatory agencies in order to participate in the processes of issuing regulations that are new to the country,” Álvarez Hoth asserts. By becoming part of this group, she is confident that NRGI Broker can provide clients with integral and adequate solutions. “In this way, we can inform the regulators of global trends, and analyze how we can apply this information to Mexican laws and norms,” she suggests.

Accidents are unavoidable, but despite the fact that this constitutes a core part of NRGI Broker’s business, the company takes measures to mitigate risks. “When the insurance sector works with the regulatory agency as

a team, everyone’s experiences are enriched because every participant has something to offer,” expresses Álvarez Hoth. Guidelines are currently being established that will require operators to conform to certain security regulations involving studies that have to be carried out before initiating production, with the objective of ensuring production is as safe as possible.

“Due to the low oil price, the insurance sector is working in a soft market where there is plenty of capacity and few players due to companies that are unwilling to lose money having shut down their activities, which has generated an appetite and a surplus that has not been seen in the last 15 years,” Álvarez Hoth continues. This will allow new operators in Mexico access to a wide variety of coverage at extremely competitive prices.

Providing insurance for new deepwater projects will not be without its challenges, assures Álvarez Hoth, but she does not expect these to overwhelm NRGI Broker. “At the end of the day, insurance companies are more worried about onshore platforms than offshore platforms because onshore activity in Mexican territory entails various factors that can affect operations,” she points out. Dealing with social aspects is difficult and the onshore segment will require a gradual learning process because operations will vary greatly across regions. On the other hand, offshore operations are identical all over the world, and although some regions like the North Sea present higher risks due to the tides. From this perspective, the Gulf of Mexico presents relatively low risks. Deepwater operations are relatively expensive but the players are also bigger, and Álvarez Hoth predicts that companies like Shell and Exxon will enter the market when it makes sense for them from a financial perspective. “These operators will enter with international sophistication and experience from working in places with varying levels of infrastructure,” according to Álvarez Hoth. “The goal is to keep track of the country’s obstacles while keeping in mind that these types of situations have already been encountered in other parts of the world.”

Due to NRGI Broker’s breadth of experience in helping companies enter new markets, Álvarez Hoth believes that the company is uniquely positioned to welcome new players that will be attracted by the Energy Reforms. “NRGI Broker can offer these players an advisor that can speak their language and that deeply understand the country, including its laws and regulations in insurance and surety topics,” she argues.

 foto LGAH

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