When Mexico's Congress approved national energy reform in 2014, Pemex snagged over a dozen Perdido discoveries, hoping to develop them together with world-class operators as it lacked deepwater expertise to pump the oil out. However, the national oil company has yet to fully materialize its ambitions, leaving plenty of opportunities on the horizon.

By 2015, Pemex executives laid out the company's farm-out strategy at a closed-door event. They saidthe company was looking closely at Eocene and Miocene productive horizons in the Trion, Maximino and Exploratus fields, and added that ongoing exploration could yield more opportunities in neighboring acreage. Officials envisioned a Mexican deepwater hub that would cluster their production, similar to Shell's Perdido.

The complexity in the farm-out process has delayed new deals. To get a private partner, Pemex sends an initial request to be approved by the Ministry of Energy, which forwards the petition to regulator CNH to find the right partner for Pemex.

Two years after the company revealed its ambitious deepwater strategy, CNH awarded the first farm-out to take on Mexico's Perdido. And development plans for Trion, BHP Billiton's joint venture with Pemex, are already underway.

Maximino is the second farm-out on the list and is now gaining momentum after Pemex said it sent a formal petition to the Ministry of Energy to begin the process during the week of May 1. The company expanded the farm-out area to encompass two fields, Nobilis and Maximino—the former has two wells and the latter boasts three. The Nobilis-Maximino block has 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent of 3P reserves—more than Trion—and its reservoirs are at a  m to 3,100 m water depth within the block's 1,524 sq km area, according to Pemex. 

 

Nobilis-Maximino's distance of 22 km from Shell's Great White Field and 40 km west from Trion underscore the possibility for new projects on the Mexican side of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), and the opportunity to work with the U.S. to build up pre-existing infrastructure in U.S. waters.

In 2015, Pemex officials said their conceptual development plan for Maximino would involve a floating production system (FPS) to collect production, which then would be sent to a shallow fixed platform to facilitate output delivery to shore. Subsea processing would be the most important challenge to overcome, they said.

Whether that development design proves effective is yet to be seen, as experts suggest sharing deepwater logistics with players on the U.S. side of the GoM could be more effective.

As for Exploratus, the extension and potential oil volume is yet to be fully defined. The field has three wells, and CNH approved the drilling of Exploratus-2DL on[EP1] Feb.. The block is located just south of Trion and its joint development could come once Trion's strategy is outlined. 

Pemex also has exploration plans for the Goliath Field near the Nobilis-Maximino block. Goliath's potential is shallower, and the first well will be drilled with Pemex’s Centenario rig in about one month.

Supremus, another field with potential adjacent to Maximino, could also play an important role moving forward. Additionally, Cratos and Vasto are two fields south of Maximino that could also see farm-out activity in the future.

Although Mexico’s Perdido area is just across the U.S. maritime border where prolific reservoirs have created success stories, Perdido is still years away from first oil. But ongoing exploration and development efforts could yield some of the most promising deepwater plays in recent years.