Is PEMEX struggling to efficiently process the heavy crude of the Mexican oil fields?


Mexico’s president took office in late 2018 pledging to boost local output of gasoline while phasing out imports, but so far state refineries have instead set a different course: bumper production of highly-contaminating fuel oil.

To make Mexico self-sufficient, leftist resource nationalist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wants the country to wean itself off dependence on foreign gasoline and diesel supplies, mostly from U.S. refiners, and replace them by 2024 with production from state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

The push to increase Pemex’s output, however, has ramped up fuel oil production, due mostly to its refineries’ struggle to efficiently process the heavy crude Mexican oil fields pump.

Some Pemex executives describe Lopez Obrador’s promise as more ideological, and less tethered to technical realities.

“It’s really more of a political statement than a reachable goal,” one Pemex executive told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity to candidly discuss the quandary.

Pemex did not respond to requests for comment.

In April, Pemex fuel oil production averaged over 322,000 barrels per day (bpd), the highest since July 2010 – even though the company’s total crude output is now over a fifth lower than it was during 2016, official data show.

By contrast, gasoline output was 291,000 bpd in April. While over 40% higher than the 2019 average, the figure is down 4% from April 2022, and over 10% below the 2016 average.

Source: El Financiero

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