Borr Drilling's Ran jack-up rig; Credit: Wintershall Dea/Frank Meyer

‘Major’ oil discovery for Wintershall Dea offshore Mexico

Germany’s oil and gas company Wintershall Dea has made a significant oil discovery at an exploration prospect located in shallow waters of the Cuenca Salina in the Sureste Basin, off Mexico.

Borr Drilling's Ran jack-up rig; Credit: Wintershall Dea/Frank Meyer

Wintershall Dea disclosed on Tuesday, 25 April 2023, that it had made a “major” oil discovery at the Kan exploration prospect in Block 30, which is located in the shallow waters of the Cuenca Salina in the Sureste Basin, offshore Mexico. Based on preliminary estimates, the operator explains that the discovery may contain 200 to 300 million barrels of oil equivalent in place. 

Hugo Dijkgraaf, Wintershall Dea’s Chief Technology Officer and Executive Board member responsible for global exploration, remarked: “This important discovery at Wintershall Dea’s first own-operated exploration well offshore Mexico is a great success. It was one of the most contested blocks of Mexico’s bid round 3.1 back in 2018.

“The successful Kan discovery confirms the attractiveness of Block 30, complementing Wintershall Dea’s outstanding Mexican license portfolio. It is a significant step to extending our footprint in Mexico contributing to the development of a potential new hub in the shallow waters of the Sureste Basin.”

Wintershall Dea's licence portfolio in Mexico's Sureste Basin; Source: Wintershall Dea
Wintershall Dea’s licence portfolio in Mexico’s Sureste Basin; Source: Wintershall Dea

According to the German player, the Kan prospect – located about 25 kilometres off the Tabasco coast in a water depth of around 50 metres within a zone of several Miocene discoveries, including the Zama, Polok and Chinwol discoveries, where Wintershall Dea holds significant working interests – is the first of two commitment wells on Block 30.

Furthermore, the Kan well, which was drilled by Borr Drilling’s Ran rig, reached a total depth of 3,317 metres and found more than 170 metres net pay sands of Upper Miocene with good petrophysical properties and high-quality oil. Wintershall Dea further explains that an updip sidetrack down to 3,087 metres was carried out, and additionally, approximately 250 metres cores across the main reservoir sands were recovered.

Martin Jungbluth, Managing Director of Wintershall Dea in Mexico, commented: “After the recent submission of the unit development plan for the Zama field and the acquisition of a material share in the producing Hokchi field, the discovery in Block 30 is the next important milestone for Wintershall Dea in Mexico.

“From our strong market position, with our value accretive projects in the exploration and development phase as well as our current production projects, we look forward to contributing to the further development of the Mexican energy sector.”

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Moreover, the Block 30 consortium – consisting of Wintershall Dea (operator with a 40 per cent stake in Block 30) and Harbour Energy and Sapura OMV with a 30 per cent stake, respectively – will evaluate the extensive subsurface data collection in order to prepare the Kan discovery appraisal plan, which is expected to be submitted to Mexico’s Hydrocarbon Agency CNH (Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos) before the end of July 2023.

After completing the Kan-1EXP well and the sidetrack, the Ran rig was moved to a second prospect – Ix – to be drilled at Wintershall Dea’s Block 30, approximately 20 kilometres northeast of the Kan discovery.

The Ran jack-up rig is of KFELS Super A design. It was constructed at Keppel KFELS yard in Singapore and can operate in water depths of up to 400 ft. The rig’s maximum drilling depth is 35,000 ft.

This oil discovery comes a month after Eni also made an oil discovery in an exploration well located in Block 7 in the Sureste Basin offshore Mexico, using a Valaris-owned semi-submersible rig.