Mexico’s state-owned Pemex is lining up a decision on the use of an FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) vessel for a series of extended well tests on several ultra-deep- water discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company is under substantial pressure to firm up the reserves and flow characteristics of several of its recent light oil finds in the GoM, as it seeks to turn around its falling production levels. The operator has for some time been eyeing Bluewater’s Munin FPSO to carry out a series of EWTs starting in 2015 on the discoveries in the Perdido Fold Belt, where operators such as Shell have had significant success just over the border in the US sector on major development projects such as Perdido. Bluewater’s Munin FPSO is currently located in Singapore, and Pemex is understood to want to make its decision well before the end of this year, DI hears.

The Mexican company has so far found nearly 500 MMbbl of oil in the play, making deep and ultra-deepwater discoveries including Maximino (2,900 m / 9,515 ft water depth) earlier this year, and Supremus and Trion last year. It estimates total reserves in its sector of the GoM could total up to 29 bil- lion bbl of crude.

-Pemex is also expecting to receive technical and commercial bids by the end of September for a US $1 billion newbuild FPSO planned for its heavy oil Ayatsil-Tekel field in the Bay of Campeche. The disconnectable turret unit is likely to have a designated capacity of up to 300,000 b/d, and also fulfil a role powering four surrounding fixed production platforms. The hull for the FPSO is likely to be built in SE Asia.

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto is pushing through sweeping energy reforms aimed at boosting the country’s production by loosening legal restrictions on private capital in the country’s oil industry, but his reform proposal amending the country’s constitution to achieve this is still the subject of fierce debate.