Pemex leader calls for deeper offshore development in Mexico

Mexico’s greater reliance on hydrocarbons for the energy it consumes compared to the rest of the world has created an imbalance between the amount of oil it produces and the amount it is able to put into its reserves, an official with the state-owned oil company said Wednesday.

Carlos Morales-Gil, general director of Pemex Exploration and Production, told a gathering at the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston that the country needs to foster more foreign investment, even in the face of Mexican laws that prevent it.

He also said that Mexico needs to search for oil and gas in deeper waters offshore, or it will be missing a great opportunity that other companies are seeking out in other countries. Morales-Gil said there is a stubbornness over the issue in Mexico.

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“Some people claim we should not go into deep water,” he said. “If we don’t go into deep water, we will have left out half of the resources we can find in the future. We are somehow stubborn, and we have been keeping our ideas from going to deep water and discovering these resources.”

The impact on Pemex’s operations are clear, he said.

Pemex is the third- or fourth-largest oil producer in the world, depending on who is counting, but it is only the 17th-largest in terms of oil reserves, he said. Some 60 percent of the world’s energy consumption today comes from hydrocarbons, which are compounds found in oil and gas. But, in Mexico, it is 90 percent, he said.

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“We need to have a better balance and a more sustainable condition in terms of production and reserves,” Morales-Gil said. “That is something we have been able to get a break on in the last couple of years.”

Officials said the amount of oil produced in Mexico has steadily decreased since 2004 due to natural production declines from offshore fields. They say there are reforms being contemplated in Mexico that will hopefully allow the tide to turn.