Contract Area 4 encompasses the development of two oil and gas fields namely Ichalkil and Pokoch. Credit: Shutterstock/Luckasz Z.
Ichalkil and Pokoch fields are being developed by consortium of Petrobal and Fieldwood Energy. Credit: ShutterStock/Oil and Gas Photographer.
The first oil production from the project is expected in 2020. Credit: ShutterStock/Mr.PK.

Contract Area 4 includes two oil and gas fields, Ichalkil and Pokoch, located in water depths ranging between 30m and 45m in the Bay of Campeche, Gulf of Mexico, Mexico.

The oil and gas fields were jointly awarded to a consortium of Petrobal and Fieldwood Energy by the Mexican government’s National Commission of Hydrocarbons (Comisión Nacional de Hidrocarburos, CNH), under a long-term production sharing contract in September 2015. Both the companies own an equal stake in the project, with Fieldwood Energy being the operator.

The CNH approved a development plan worth $7.6bn for Contract Area 4 in February 2019. The first production from the field is expected in 2020. It will initially produce 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd). The peak production is estimated to reach 100,000boepd and 120 million cubic feet of gas per day by 2026.

Contract Area 4 location

Ichalkil and Pokoch are shallow-water oil and gas fields that lie 42km away from the coastline of the Campeche area and 96.56km away from Ciudad del Carmen in the Gulf of Mexico. They are being developed as a single block named Block 4 under Contract Area 4, which spans across 58km².

Contract Area 4 reserves and geology

The two fields are anticipated to hold proven reserves of 41.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) containing 68 million barrels of light crude oil and 92 billion cubic feet of gas.

"The 2P and 3P reserves of the fields are estimated to be 85.5 million boe (Mboe) and 190.6Mboe, respectively."

The Ichalkil reservoir is a smooth anticline divided by two reverse faults. The reserves are present in the lower and middle Cretaceous rock, shaped by compressional tectonic activity.

Contract Area 4 discovery and exploration

The reserves in the Gulf of Mexico were discovered in 2005 by exploratory drilling in the Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Recent rock. The exploratory well named Ichalkil-1 was drilled to a vertical depth of 5,010m in 32.5m of water in the Upper Jurassic Tithonian rock in the southwestern marine region, 76km north-west of Ciudad del Carmen in the Gulf of Mexico. The well discovered 33° API light oil as well as and heavy oil reservoirs in the area.

The Ichalkil-1 well discovered light oil in the Cretaceous carbonated rocks that were fractured naturally. The field was appraised by the Ichalkil-2 well, which was followed by the first well in Pokoch. In 2009, Ichalkil-1DL well, which was drilled to delineate Ichalkil-1 well, added 121.6 million barrels of crude oil equivalent to the proved reserves.

Contract Area 4 development details

The development phase of the project was commenced in April 2018. The Ichalkil and Pokoch fields will be developed by the installation of two lightweight platforms, which will be tied-back to the existing infrastructure owned by Pemex, the state-owned petroleum company, through associated pipelines.

Two jack-up rigs will be used for the drilling of six development wells. The first drilling rig is expected to commence drilling operations in December 2019, while the second is scheduled to arrive at the field in March 2020. The drilling will be commenced with the completion of the existing two appraisal wells.

Fieldwood Energy’s operations in the Gulf of Mexico

Besides the Contract Area 4 development, Fieldwood Energy is also working on the development of other assets in the Gulf of Mexico acquired from Noble Energy, an independent energy company based in the US.

The acquisition positioned Fieldwood as one of the largest leaseholders in the Gulf of Mexico. The assets acquired include BigBend, Dantzler, and Gunflint and Katmai discovery in Green Canyon Block 40.