Ixachi and Quesqui, two of the new fields, called priority fields, which were developed in this six-year term and which were announced as major discoveries by Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), are under the watchful eye of the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) due to excess burning of gas that is carried out in them for oil extraction.

This was detailed by the regulator’s governing body in its 50th extraordinary session held in June, as well as in a previous discussion in May, sources from the regulator assured.

Experts from the Mexican hydrocarbons regulator paid a surprise visit to the Quesqui site on Tuesday, the sources told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Concerns centered on “excessive gas flaring” and other possible violations of Pemex’s development plan, sources close to the regulator told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

At the end of 2018, Ixachi was the largest discovery made on land by Pemex in the last 25 years and the fourth in the world in the last 10 years, according to Pemex’s general management. Its development will cost 30,000 million pesos, while the commercialization of its content could generate profits of more than 40,000 million dollars (about 800,000 million pesos).

And a year later, in December 2019, Octavio Romero Oropeza, CEO of Pemex, reported the discovery of the giant deposit in shallow waters off the coast of Tabasco with 500 million barrels of crude oil equivalent in total reserves.

Last Friday, at the virtual forum of the Major Economies on Energy and Action, convened by the United States, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stressed that Pemex will allocate 2,000 million dollars of its own resources and a credit line at preferential rates to reduce up to 98% of methane gas emissions in exploration and production processes of the oil industry.

Gas burning, at record level

However, last year, the country broke all its records in gas flaring and venting in a decade, reaching a waste of approximately 11%, according to its own reports.

This resulted in a volume of 520.8 million cubic feet per day in the average of the latest data available, of which 99% corresponded to Pemex in its allocations, waste equivalent to at least a value of 1,854 million dollars per day (at the gas prices last year) while the country imported 73% of the gas that was distributed.

This average daily value of waste increased 113% compared to the previous year, in which an average of 870,000 dollars per day was wasted in volume of gas flared or vented.

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