Mexico Discovers New Deepwater Oil Deposits

These discoveries should allow Mexico to increase its annual oil production by up to a third.

President Felipe Calderon announced on Friday that Mexico has found new deepwater oil deposits with estimated reserves of 125 million barrels.

"We are finding the most significant petroleum system discovered by Pemex in a number of years, maybe even decades," Calderon said.

Dubbed Supremus 1, the latest find by state-owned energy company Pemex and was at a depth of about 2,900 meters (9,514 feet) in the Gulf of Mexico and confirmed the potential of what has been called the "Lost Belt" basin.

On August 29, Calderon announced the discovery of a first well -- Trion 1 -- in the same zone, with reserves there estimated at between 250 and 400 million barrels.

Exploration of this zone, situated 112 miles off the Mexican coast and 39 kilometers south of the maritime border with the United States, began in April with latest-generation platforms.

The second find is situated off the coast of Tamaulipas state in northeast Mexico.

According to Calderon, these discoveries should allow Mexico to increase its annual oil production by up to a third. In the past few years, production has dropped from 3.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2006 to 2.55 million barrels per day in 2011.

Pemex constitutes the main source of revenue of Mexican tax authorities with some 45 billion dollars a year and could open itself up to private capital next year for the first time since the nationalization of Mexican petroleum in 1938.

Luis Videgaray, head of president-elect Enrique Pena Nieto's transition team, said in an interview published in the Wall Street Journal Thursday that there were no plans to privatize Pemex but "new legislation would allow the private sector to partner with Pemex."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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