(Reuters) Mexico’s state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos will see its crude output reduced by some 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) until the beginning of August after a massive fire on Friday at an offshore platform, a top company source said.
The reduced production implies that, in total, Pemex will lose at least 2 million barrels of crude through the end of July, according to Reuters estimates. The source agreed on the calculation.
Pemex did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The fire broke out at dawn Friday on the platform Nohoch-A, later spreading to a compression facility at the iconic Cantarell field, which used to be Pemex’s largest producing field. The accident left at least two people dead.
Pemex, which produces in total about 1.6 million bpd of oil, said on Saturday it had an output loss of 700,000 barrels on the day of the accident at the Gulf of Mexico gas processing hub explaining “it shut down practically all the wells in the area.”
By Saturday, the company said it had already recovered some 600,000 barrels per day.
But the source said that fully recovering production will only be possible at the beginning of August.
That means output from Pemex’s offshore fields, from which the company extracts most of its oil, will be impacted in the meantime. He did not provide details on the company’s schedule to progressively restart output.
“We are short of a little less than 100,000 barrels (per day). We expect that by the first days of August we will recover all the crude,” he said.
Cantarell, which produced more than 2 million bpd of oil two decades ago, currently produces about 170,000 bpd. Along with Ku-Maloob-Zaap, which contributes some 620,000 bpd from Pemex’s northeastern marine region, they provide around 41% of the company’s total production of 1.9 million bpd of crude and condensate.
Pemex has had several severe accidents in recent years at its facilities, including refineries and production hubs. In August 2021, a gas leak from an offshore platform triggered a fire that killed seven workers and caused the loss of 1.6 million barrels of oil output.
The government blames previous administrations for the condition of Pemex saying it inherited the company on the verge of bankruptcy. Opponents and analysts say the company’s management during the current administration has been ineffective at growing production and preventing accidents.
Pemex said on Friday the fire had been extinguished promptly, preventing its spread to four other processing centers, which are part of the so-called Sonda de Campeche, a series of marine fields about 85 kilometers from Ciudad del Carmen, in the southeastern state of Campeche.
Pemex’s safety performance indicators have deteriorated according to its own figures.
The accumulated frequency index -accidents per million man-hours worked- rose to 0.58 in the first quarter of 2023 from 0.37 in the same period of the previous year, while the accumulated severity index -days lost per million man-hours worked- went to 32 from 11 in the same period.