Petroleos Mexicanos May Increase Jack-Ups in Gulf of Mexico to 40 in 2011

By Carlos Manuel Rodriguez and Rodrigo Orihuela

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, plans to operate “around 40” shallow- water drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico as it aims to boost annual output for the first time in seven years.

The Mexico City-based company will lease 15 more jack-up rigs and renew contracts to operate offshore drilling equipment in the Gulf of Mexico, said Carlos Morales, head of production and exploration at Pemex. Jack-ups are units with retractable legs that extend as much as 400 feet to the sea floor.

“We’re ramping-up our leasing of jack-ups,” Morales said yesterday in an interview in Buenos Aires. “We’re going to renew lease contracts and we’re going to add new rigs.”

Pemex, the state-owned oil company, is targeting 85 percent of its $23 billion investment budget for exploration and production as it seeks to boost output for the first time since 2004. Morales said in August the company planned to lease rigs to get newer equipment and better prices.

A U.S. ban on Gulf of Mexico drilling that halted rig use in the region was lifted in October. The U.S. froze deep-water drilling permits after BP Plc (BP/)’s Macondo well exploded in April 2010, causing the largest U.S. offshore oil spill.

“Hopefully, we will see some jack-ups return to work in Mexico very quickly,” Noble Corp. (NE) Chief Executive Officer David Williams, said at a Feb. 9 energy conference. “Pemex has said they’re committed to the jack-up business, they keep telling us, we keep telling you, but it remains to be seen whether or not they can actually do that.”

Noble owns the world’s second-largest fleet of offshore drilling rigs.

( Original Article )

Posted on April 9, 2011, in Drilling, Mexico, Natural Gas, Oil & Gas - offshore and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Petroleos Mexicanos May Increase Jack-Ups in Gulf of Mexico to 40 in 2011.

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