* Tsimin, Xux fields may hold more than 1.5 bln bls oil
* Nearby prospects look promising
* Finds prompt Pemex to step up activity in region
By Robert Campbell
MEXICO CITY, Aug 30 Mexico's state oil company
Pemex is increasingly optimistic about the potential of what
appears to be a new cluster of light crude oil fields around
its Tsimin discovery, according to company executives.
The side-by-side Tsimin and Xux discoveries are believed to
hold the equivalent of 1.5 billion barrels of proved, probable
and possible oil reserves said Manuel Teran, a Pemex engineer
working on the discoveries, at a petroleum engineering
conference this weekend.
"We are also optimistic that nearby locations could be
similarly productive," Teran said.
Pemex [PEMX.UL] plans to drill additional exploratory wells
at the two finds to allow it to reclassify the oil discoveries
as proven, Teran said.
If Pemex succeeds in its efforts to reclassify Tsimin and
Xux, the two fields would account for more than 10 percent of
Mexico's total proven oil reserves.
The crude from the two fields is also very high quality, in
contrast to the lower-value heavy oil pumped from Mexico's big
fields in the Gulf of Mexico.
Pemex has been working to improve its exploration efforts
as the country's largest oil fields are either mature or in
decline, threatening its long-term status as a major oil
The company has set itself the goal of replacing all of the
oil and gas it produces every year with new discoveries by
2012. Currently Pemex only makes new finds each year equivalent
to a little more than three quarters of its annual oil
PRESSURE OFF CHICONTEPEC
Tsimin, first found in 2008, is already being fast-tracked
for development by the state monopoly. Pemex plans to tender
for the construction of two production platforms at Tsimin
later this year, according to documents published on its
Further drilling could show that nearby prospects, such as
Kimbe, could hold up to 200 million barrels of oil equivalent,
Teran said. Pemex is even optimistic that the geological trend
may even extend to the shoreline, where it has other onshore
The success at Tsimin has encouraged a strategic shift at
Pemex, which is taking a second look at the shallow waters of
the Gulf of Mexico after struggling to find oil in the deeper
Further light oil finds in the shallow waters of the Gulf
of Mexico could also relieve some of the pressure on the
company to quickly raise oil output at its troubled Chicontepec
Chicontepec has gobbled up billions of dollars in
investment in recent years but production remains below 50,000
barrels per day, prompting some critics, including the
country's new National Hydrocarbons Commission, to condemn the
development as a waste of money.
However Pemex Chief Executive Juan Jose Suarez defended the
project on Monday in a speech to the conference, arguing the
company was overcoming some of the technical difficulties at
the challenging development.
"Today Chicontepec is not a project that loses money," he
(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)