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Petronas wraps up drilling at Mexico wildcat

Probe was among early prospects testing potential of nation's under-explored deep-water sector

Malaysian operator Petronas has confirmed to Upstream that it has wrapped up drilling at the closely watched Yaxchilan Este-1 well off Mexico, with no mention of any discovery.

"The well data provides Petronas with important calibration points to evaluate the prospectivity of the area, and further geological assessment will be carried out to determine the sweet spots within the block for the joint-venture partners to pursue," a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

The well was was drilled in 1100 metres of water with the drillship Rowan Renaissance in Block 4, which was awarded in the country's first Round 1.4 deep-water offering in 2016.

Operators look to make mark in Mexico

The probe was considered a highly frontier well chasing Oligocene as well as Cretaceous and Jurassic objectives.

Petronas did not initially commit to a well on the block but won approval after proposing the drilling plans earlier in the year.

The Malaysian company operates the block with a 50% stake, with Sierra Oil & Gas — which has been acquired by Wintershall Dea — holding the remainder.

Petronas has been one of the most aggressive investors in deep waters off Mexico, and apparently undeterred it said it was looking ahead to additional exploration works across the country's emerging offshore sector.

"Looking into 2020, Petronas will be participating in up to seven exploration wells across three main basins, which will include the first shallow water well for the company in the Salina Basin," the company spokeswoman added.

Petronas drilling ahead off Mexico

Initial deep-water exploration off Mexico conducted this year has seen mixed results.

Appraisal wells by BHP Billiton around Pemex's existing Trion discovery have come up with positive outcomes.

Murphy reported the Cholula discovery in Block 5, adjacent to the Petronas tract containing Yaxchilan Este-1, but that area is seen as needing more exploration to establish commerciality.

The Etzil-1 well by Total and ExxonMobil in Block 2 in the Perdido fold-belt came back dry.

However, a second wave of wells on blocks in later exploration rounds are also on the way, with Shell set to kick off a major exploration push across the basin starting in December of this year.

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