MEXICO CITY, July 3 (Reuters) - Mexico’s state oil monopoly Pemex said on Tuesday it has a new gas find in the Gulf of Mexico where it has begun ultra-deep water drilling.
The find, off the coast of Veracruz state, has estimated proven, probable and possible (3P) reserves of between 1.5 and 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas, Pemex said in a statement.
The Kunah-1 well, drilled at 2,157 meters, is located in an area where the company says there could be between 30 million and 40 million barrels of crude oil, although it has mostly found only gas so far.
Late last year Pemex said it had found a much larger deep-water natural gas pocket at the Nen 1 well.
The company has been drilling in the region since 2006, but unlike companies exploring in U.S. territorial waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Pemex has been far less successful at finding more profitable crude oil.
After more than a decade searching for oil in the Gulf, sinking 20 wells at depths of more than 500 meters, seven turned up dry and only seven found natural gas.
Pemex believes there are up to 29 billion barrels of crude equivalent in the Gulf, more than half of Mexico’s potential resources. The company is interested in contracting private companies to help it tap the deep-water riches.
The world’s No. 7 oil producer has seen output drop to around 2.55 million barrels per day (bpd) from a peak of 3.4 million bpd in 2004.
Mexico President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party has said he wants to open up Pemex to more private investment aimed at boosting production in the country’s lumbering energy sector.