MEXICO CITY, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Mexico's state-run Pemex is expected to start operating in April the largest offshore oil platform built in the country in a decade, which was constructed by McDermott International, an executive of the engineering firm said on Thursday.
Pemex is trying to reverse a 14-year crude output decline by boosting its offshore operations, especially in shallow waters along the southern Gulf of Mexico. Pemex has long been focused on the area, which is expected to see more activity from private producers that have won development rights there since 2015.
The new platform will replace a similar one that was damaged by a large fire in 2016 that killed three workers.
"McDermott is 100-percent vertically integrated. We were in charge of engineering here in Mexico, purchases, construction, transportation and installation. We will deliver the platform ready for operation," Alfredo Carvallo, director of McDermott's Mexico unit, told Reuters in a interview.
The Abkatun-A2 platform required an investment of $454 million, 180 Mexican engineers, 2,600 direct workers and over two years to be completed, Carvallo added.
The facility can handle up to 220,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude output and 352 million cubic feet per day of natural gas. It is expected to serve Pemex's most prolific shallow-water oilfields, including Ku-Maloob-Zaap, located in the Campeche Bay.
The 15,000-tonne platform, built near the port of Altamira in northeastern Tamaulipas state, is the first one fully assembled in Mexico. Transportation to its final location is expected to be completed in November, followed by installation and testing in the following months.
McDermott has built 10 platforms in the last decade for Pemex and is working on two additional infrastructure projects for the state-run firm. The company has been using its Altamira hub to build platforms for oil companies across the Americas, including Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean.
McDermott earlier this week said it was awarded a contract by Brazil's state-run Petrobras to design and build a pipeline associated with a gas export system in the Santos basin's pre-salt area.
McDermott also announced it plans to divest its global storage tank business and pipeline construction in the United States, which had combined revenues of about $1.5 billion last year.
Pemex's crude output slightly increased to 1.825 million bpd in September, but its accumulated annual average of 1.863 million bpd is 4 percent below last year's production, the company said on Thursday. (Reporting by Marianna Parraga and Ana Isabel Martinez in Mexico City; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)