Pemex to Begin Production at New Olmeca Refinery in Southern Mexico

Mexican state oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) is set to launch production at its highly anticipated Olmeca refinery in southern Mexico by the end of January, according to CEO Octavio Romero Oropeza. This announcement was made during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s morning press conference.

Last year, Pemex’s six refineries in Mexico processed a total of 794,000 barrels of crude oil per day, while its Deer Park refinery in Texas processed 270,000 barrels per day. The addition of the new Olmeca refinery will significantly boost Pemex’s total crude processing capacity to 1.5 million barrels per day in 2022. Furthermore, the company aims to increase this figure to nearly 1.8 million barrels per day by 2026.

The Olmeca refinery, which is located in Dos Bocas, Tabasco state, is expected to have an initial processing capacity of 243,000 barrels per day in 2022, with plans to increase that number to 320,000 barrels per day by 2025.

Romero Oropeza revealed that in 2023, Pemex produced approximately 1.9 million barrels per day of crude oil and condensates. Out of this total, 30% came from new fields, while the remaining 70% was sourced from mature fields. This indicates a significant increase compared to the production of just under 1.7 million barrels per day recorded in 2019, during the first year of López Obrador’s administration.

One of the key objectives behind Pemex’s push for more domestic refining is to decrease Mexico’s reliance on petroleum product imports such as gasoline and diesel, ultimately reducing the country’s petroleum trade deficit. In the first 11 months of 2023, Mexico imported an average of 396,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 170,000 barrels per day of diesel. Additionally, Mexico imports approximately 6 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas from the U.S., resulting in a petroleum trade deficit of $9.7 billion for the January-November period.

Pemex’s new Olmeca refinery represents a crucial step towards achieving Mexico’s goal of greater energy independence and self-sufficiency. As the project reaches completion, the nation can anticipate a promising future of increased domestic refining capacity and reduced reliance on foreign petroleum imports.

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