(Adds new average 2008 forecast, detail on other fields)
MEXICO CITY, July 30 (Reuters) - Mexican state-run oil monopoly Pemex said on Wednesday it expects to end 2008 with crude oil production of around 2.8 million barrels per day, below its initial goal for the year of 3.0 million bpd.
“Our expectation is to close the year with a volume close to 2,800,000 barrels per day,” Pemex’s deputy director of Exploration and Production, Vinicio Suro, told an investor conference call.
Pemex, grappling with a steady decline in output at its main oil field Cantarell, produced an average of 2.839 million bpd of oil in June. Output has been below 3.0 million bpd ever since October. Pemex already had dropped its average production estimate for 2008 to around 2.9 million.
Suro added that Pemex’s latest target was to have production averaging between 2.8 million and 2.85 million bpd over the year — 8 percent below average production in 2007.
Mexico is the world’s No. 6 producer and No. 10 exporter of crude oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, but declining crude output and exports are threatening the country’s position as a top U.S. supplier.
The slide in oil production since peaks of around 3.4 million bpd in 2004 is putting pressure on President Felipe Calderon to push through a proposed overhaul of the state-controlled energy sector through a divided Congress.
The conservative government hopes centrist lawmakers will help enact a reform in September allowing Pemex to hire private companies under incentive-fee contracts to shore up flagging output and reserves with exploration and production projects.
Suro said Pemex hoped to maintain Cantarell’s daily output around steady at 1 million barrels until the end of the year.
Among other fields that Pemex is drilling as alternatives, output at the Ku Maloob Zaap offshore field is above 700,000 bpd and should reach a target of 800,000 bpd in 2009, Suro said, while the onshore Chicontepec field should be producing between 50,000 and 65,000 bpd by December. (Reporting by Catherine Bremer; Editing by David Gregorio)