Pemex 2010 rig needs to be comparable to 2009 levels - consultant

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mexico's state oil company Pemex will have similar rig needs this year compared to 2009 as it reassesses its E&P programs, Gianna Bern, president of Chicago-based consultancy Brookshire Advisory and Research, told BNamericas.

As Pemex determines the optimal way to proceed, drilling contractors and Pemex-watchers alike have been awaiting indications of the state firm's prospective needs and plans.

Bern particularly highlighted the reevaluation of the Chicontepec (ATG) project and planned capex of roughly US$20bn that marks an increase from 2009.

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"As of September 30, they had 179 drilling rigs. So going into 2010, if they kept it at 175 rigs, I think that would be good news. Given the reassessment of the ATG project, I wouldn't expect much more than what we saw in 2009," Bern said.

"Their capex budget is close to US$20bn, but we've always seen through the years that the spending pattern may pick up in the latter half of the year, and in some years they don't even spend the entire budget. So I think at this point drilling needs comparable to 2009 are probably a safe bet," Bern added.

Mexican energy analyst David Shields said the company's investment budget will still be distributed among five main areas - Chicontepec, Ku-Maloob-Zaap, Cantarell, the southern region and the Burgos basin. The latter, however, "has dropped quite substantially in the priorities because of the low gas price, " according to Shields.

"The four regions that are not Burgos I think are still holding up, though I get the impression that activity may be dropping a little bit in all of these five regions. I get the impression that at least activity is not increasing. I don't see signs of it. I don't see contracts being tendered," Shields said.