President Felipe Calderon said the find off the coast of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas was an “important achievement” for Pemex.
The deposit in the Gulf of Mexico could contain 250 million to 400 million barrels of oil, which would be the equivalent of one-third of Pemex’s annual petroleum production, Calderon was quoted by the Associated Press as saying Wednesday.
Reuters said the light crude is easier to process than heavy crude, which makes up the bulk of Mexico’s oil output.
Pemex chief executive Juan Jose Suarez Coppel told local radio that it would take “at least five or six years” for production to start in the area known as Perdido.
Output has fallen to 2.5 million barrels per day from a peak of 3.4 million barrels per day in 2004, Reuters reported.
Mexico’s President-elect, Enrique Pena-Nieto, vowed during his election campaign to open up Pemex to more private and foreign investment to improve aging infrastructure and increase production.
More from GlobalPost: Mexico: US Embassy staff shot were CIA, says New York Times