Photographer: Cesar Rodriguez/Bloomberg
Mexico to start awarding construction contract by March 2019
Pemex plans to improve operations of current six refineries
Mexico plans to start awarding the construction of its seventh refinery as soon as March 2019, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at an event at the Dos Bocas port, in Tabasco, even as the nation´s refining system is operating at its lowest levels in three decades.
Unveiling a plan for the nation’s refining system, Lopez Obrador said Mexico will invest $8 billion in the new processing facility at Dos Bocas. "We are going to start the bidding process for the refinery by March at latest," he said to a cheering crowd in the sun-drenched town in the Gulf of Mexico, reiterating his intentions to boost fuel self-sufficiency and end long-term declines in oil output. Mexico’s oil production, on track for its 14th consecutive yearly decline, will rise "realistically" to 2.4 million barrels per day by 2024, he said.
Lopez Obrador said a lot of 566 hectares of federal land is ready for the new plant, which will have crude processing capacity of 340,000 daily barrels, making it Mexico’s biggest refinery. It will include 17 processing plants, and 93 storage tanks or facilities, and link up to the Dos Bocas maritime terminal. A pipeline will be built connecting the refinery to the port.
Companies such as Ica Fluor, a joint venture between Mexico’s Empresas ICA SAB and Fluor Corp. in the U.S., and U.S.-based Bechtel, have previously expressed interest in participating in the public tender for the refinery project. Lopez Obrador didn´t said if the state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, will operate the new facility.
"In three years we will be producing the gasoline that we consume in the country, so that now we can lower the prices of the fuel," he said.
Lopez Obrador also said the government will increase Pemex’s budget by 75 billion pesos for 2019 so the company will be able to invest in a series of new projects to improve its operations. He reiterated his government will submit the 2019 budget to the Congress on December 15 and said the nation won’t use the oil contingency fund to finance the new oil policy.