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Dos Bocas Not Fully Operational Until 2023: López Obrador

By Conal Quinn | Wed, 06/15/2022 - 17:05

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that the new refinery will be ready for its inauguration date in two weeks. He did, however, call on the nation to remain patient, noting that it will be another while until the Olmeca refinery is operating at its full capacity. 

"It will be producing at full capacity by next year (...) The construction phase, without a doubt, will be finished this year,” said López Obrador in his morning press conference, before reiterating that Mexico is on track to stop the import of fuels by 2023. However, this promise of complete fuel self-reliance will depend greatly on the progress of Dos Bocas, which is set to account for 13 percent of the 2.6MMb/d output target. 

Industry experts have claimed that 2024 is the more likely date for Dos Bocas to reach its full operational potential, citing the cost and complexity of the work still scheduled to take place. López Obrador and Minister of Energy Rocío Nahle have previously guaranteed that the refinery located in the southeastern state of Tabasco would reach its maximum capacity of 340Mb/d by 2023. Such a feat would be a major boon for the president’s goal of energy self-sufficiency by 2023, the year he leaves office.

Mere weeks away from its July 2 inauguration date, the president announced that Dos Bocas will be ready to take on the next stage in its development: "A testing phase will be initiated at the Dos Bocas refinery, just like a testing phase began when they built the last refinery, which was in Salina Cruz, a little over 40 years ago. They inaugurated it, and then it took around six to eight months for it to start producing at optimal capacity.” The president underscored that such a process is normal for refineries, noting that the Salina Cruz refinery also underwent a one-year testing phase before reaching its full production period. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect the same for Dos Bocas: "The best example we have of something similar is the construction of the refinery in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, which was inaugurated in the 1980s by former President José López Portillo,” he said. 

Back in March, Nahle announced that the project was 87 percent finished and lauded the efforts of her department and its collaborators for completing a project of such scale in “record time.” However, critics have pointed to significant delays, which are largely due to a tightening of the budget for the flagship project that already exceeded its initial US$8 billion budget. The refinery could reach a total expenditure as high as US$14.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. Just 17 days away from its scheduled inauguration, only the mechanical and electrical workshops as well as the storage units have been completed, while the last update from SENER stated that the piping had only just started to be transported to the racks. 


Dos Bocas and its progress will be one of the key topics discussed at Mexico Oil and Gas Summit 2022. Day 2 of the Summit will see a panel of experts join together to review “Dos Bocas as 21st Century Oil & Gas Hub.” Book your place at MOGS and make the most of the exclusive early bird offer by clicking the following link https://mexicobusiness.events/oilandgas/2022/07.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Oil and Gas Magazine, Proceso, Reuters, Bloomberg
Photo by:   www.gob.mx
Conal Quinn Conal Quinn Journalist & Industry Analyst