Pemex Plans to Triple Drilling this Year

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Mexico's national oil company Pemex plans to triple the number of wells it will drill this year, the company's chief executive said on Monday, in a bid to grow crude output and reverse more than a decade of declining production.

The government-funded plan involves drilling 506 new wells spread across 20 recently-discovered fields, according to a presentation from Pemex CEO Octavio Romero. That would be more than three times the number of wells Pemex drilled in 2018.

The plan should yield more than 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) in new oil output by 2022, according to the presentation, which would mark a new record for Pemex, formally known as Petroleos Mexicanos.

"In Petroleos Mexicanos' entire history, it has perhaps never developed 20 new fields in one year," he said at President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's regular news conference.

Romero said oil output was running at 1.68 million bpd.

"We can expect this level of production to be maintained and that it will begin to grow from this year," he said. By the end of Lopez Obrador's six-year term in 2024, Pemex's crude production was expected to average nearly 2.5 million bpd, he said. Last year, its output averaged 1.8 million bpd.

Romero said Pemex's production plan this year also includes building 13 new offshore platforms to service 16 shallow water projects, all clustered around the southern tip of the Gulf of Mexico.

The offshore projects will be serviced by 14 new underwater pipelines covering some 109 miles (175 km) to move the expected new streams of production.

Separately, Romero added, three new drilling platforms will be built to service four nearby onshore discoveries, as well as the expansion of nine others. Thirteen new onshore pipelines will also be built, covering 55 miles (88 km).

The Pemex chief, who has been a close confidant of the president since Lopez Obrador was Mexico City's mayor over a decade ago, said all of the contracts to provide the needed infrastructure had already been awarded. He did not name the winning firms.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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