May 23 (Bloomberg) — Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company, said April crude production fell the most in more than 12 years as output at its largest field declined faster than the company forecast.
Crude oil production fell 13 percent to 2.767 million barrels a day in April, Mexico City-based Pemex, as the company is known, said today on its Web site. Output a year earlier was 3.182 million barrels a day. The decline was the largest since October 1995, when output fell 29 percent.
Pemex Chief Executive Officer Jesus Reyes Heroles set a goal of producing 3.1 million barrels of crude a day in July of last year. The company has only met that goal once since it was set. Output has been on a decline since reaching a peak in December 2003. Since 1999, proved reserves have been more than halved to 14.7 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent.
“There is no clear sign that this decline is going to slow down,” said David Shields, an independent energy analyst in Mexico City. “ I don’t think there is any point in trying to forecast an annual average.”
Mexico’s Congress must pass a bill that would give Pemex more freedom to hire foreign and private companies to explore, produce, refine and transport oil, President Felipe Calderon said this week. The changes would give Pemex more cash to explore and produce oil to staunch the decline.
Congress “seems to be oblivious from pressure from the market,” Shields said. “They don’t care about Pemex problems, they only care about being nationalistic.”
The Senate Energy Committee has set aside 71 days to debate Calderon’s bill. The debate ends on July 22.
Output at Cantarell, Pemex’s biggest field, fell 33 percent to 1.07 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Ministry. That was the lowest output since March 1996 at the field, which peaked at 2.192 million barrels a day in December 2003 and once accounted for about 60 percent of the company’s output.
The company forecast output at Cantarell would fall 15 percent annually until 2012.
Exports fell 14 percent to 1.439 million barrels a day. Pemex, the third-largest supplier of crude to the U.S., has said it will cut exports as output falls so that it can refine more of its own oil.
Gasoline imports fell 25 percent to 245,900 barrels a day in April to meet domestic demand. It was the first time since February of last year the company imported fewer barrels of gasoline compared with a year earlier.