In just over a year, Pemex is confident of being able to convert all Mexican crude oil into fuel ready for the market. The goal is one of the 10 points presented that Tuesday by the director of the Mexican state oil company, Octavio Romero Oropeza, as part of the energy self-sufficiency plan, one of the great bets of Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The projected plan not only involves complying with one of its ideological mantras, energy sovereignty, but also seeks to contain the price of gasoline, rising due to the rise in the price of crude oil, through less need to buy refined fuels from abroad. .
To achieve its objectives, the Government made the recovery of refinery companies a priority since the beginning of the administration. Either through the construction of new plants, like Dos Bocas in Tabasco, or through purchases, like Deer Park in Houston. “By 2023 and by 2024, all of Pemex’s production will be processed, it will be refined, because the Dos Bocas refinery and the Cangrejera project will come into operation. Practically, 100% of Mexican crude is going to be refined in our country to guarantee fuel supply, ”Romero announced during the daily morning conference at the National Palace, also accompanied by the Secretary of Energy, Rocío Nahle.
The paradigm shift – less crude exports and more refining – is also seen in the first two years. The number of barrels processed in national refineries grew more than 40% to 714,000 units. The projection is that next year that amount will double and only 435,000 barrels will be used for export. Until very recently, 2018 for example, the balance was the opposite. The volume of crude for export doubled that destined for national refining.
With Dos Bocas, Cangrejera and Deer Park at full capacity, it is expected that in 2023 and 2024 858,000 barrels of gasoline and 542,000 barrels of diesel will be produced, reducing dependence on fuel imports, which so far this year has risen around at 20%. All these provisions go, in any case, to mitigate at least the progressive drop in hydrocarbon reserves in the country. From 2012 to 2018 the number of Mexican barrels decreased by half. The Government’s goal is “to leave the same number of barrels that we found, 7.1 million barrels by 2024 in reserves.”
The fall in barrels has dragged Pemex into a downward spiral that has made it, for example, the world’s most indebted oil company with more than 113,000 million dollars of liabilities. The Government has been injecting capital – the last this month for 3,500 million – in a controversial rescue strategy that includes the reversal of part of the market liberalization promoted by the government of Enrique Peña Nieto. The plan presented this Tuesday also includes “substantial reductions in the tax burden and direct support for the payment of the repayments of Pemex’s debt.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.