(Adds Pemex comment explaining outlook for natural gas
By Ana Isabel Martinez
MEXICO CITY Aug 29 Mexican state oil giant
Pemex on Friday forecast its crude oil output would average 2.4
million barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, which could mark the
first year that crude production at the company has risen in
over a decade.
The company expects output of 2.35 million bpd this year.
Meanwhile, Pemex's natural gas production is seen falling
next year by over 12 percent compared with the average output
reported through the first seven months of this year.
A company spokesman said that the dip is explained by more
accurate measuring techniques now being implemented and that
natural gas output in 2015 would actually be "similar" to this
President Enrique Pena Nieto signed into law this month the
final elements of a sweeping energy overhaul aimed at reversing
declining crude production and luring billions of dollars in
private investment to the sector.
The reform ended Pemex's 75-year monopoly, and it will now
be able to enter into first-ever joint ventures with oil majors.
Gustavo Hernandez, head of Pemex's exploration and
production arm, told reporters that next year's gains will come
from a mix of better-producing mature fields as well as new
fields. He pointed to the heavy oil Ayatsil-Tekel-Utsil field,
located in the shallow waters of southern Gulf of Mexico, which
he said will begin commercial production in October.
The Ayatsil-Tekel-Utsil field contains some 750 million
barrels in proven and probable reserves, the most of any of the
10 fields for which Pemex has said it will seek partners.
Among the first steps of the energy reform, Pemex will seek
joint ventures for a mix of both onshore and offshore fields it
was assigned in the so-called Round Zero allocation. Those
ventures are expected to generate investment of $32.3 billion.
Hernandez said 2015 natural gas output is estimated at 5.7
billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d). Natural gas production so
far this year averages 6.5 bcf/d, according to Pemex data.
The company is, however, changing how it measures natural
gas production, stripping out nitrogen and carbon dioxide which
were previously counted in reported output.
Hernandez added that Mexico, the world's 10th biggest crude
producer, should deliver some 2.8 million bpd by 2018, including
output from Pemex and new entrants into the market.
Pemex last week lowered its crude oil output forecast for
2014 as it sought to measure its production more accurately.
Pemex has made several adjustments to its forecasts in
recent weeks and over the years has frequently fallen short of
(Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Leslie Adler)