Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mexican State Oil Firm Pemex's Crude Exports Surge In May

MEXICO CITY (Dow Jones)--Mexico's state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, exported in May an average of 1.591 million barrels of crude a day--its highest since March 2008 and one that comes at a time of declining production, according to trade figures released Wednesday by the government.

The National Statistics Institute, or Inegi, said the May figure compared with crude exports of 1.302 million barrels a day in April, and 1.173 million in May of last year.

Inegi said the figures came from the export trading arm of Pemex--PMI Comercio Internacional--and are subject to revision.

Pemex is scheduled to release its May production figures on Friday. Currently, it lists April crude exports on its website at 1.437 million barrels a day--about 135,000 more per day than Inegi.

In its April trade balance report, Inegi said Pemex's crude exports had risen for that month due to maintenance at some of its refineries, meaning more crude was exported and more gasoline imported.

Most imported gasoline comes from the U.S. and Mexican energy officials have acknowledged that gasoline imports will continue to rise due to limited refining capacity in Mexico.

Pemex has not yet broken ground on a new refinery that it expects to complete in 2015, but recently renewed its commitment to the project as some critics suggested that using excess U.S. refining capacity would be cheaper.

Pemex and Royal Dutch Shell PLC already share refinery operations in Deer Park, Texas.

A Pemex press officer didn't have any immediate comment on whether the same factors that accounted for April's increase in crude exports were present in May, and Inegi didn't specify.

Pemex's crude output has fallen from a peak of 3.4 million barrels a day in 2004 to about 2.6 million through April of this year.

In the first 13 days of June, it had fallen to about 2.572 million, according to preliminary figures published by the National Hydrocarbons Commission, on oversight body, on its website.

-By Laurence Iliff, Dow Jones Newswires; (52-55) 5980-5184,

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