Doubts Raised About Status of Dos BocasBy Pedro Alcalá | Thu, 06/17/2021 - 14:20
A recent PEMEX report submitted to SHCP does not describe the Dos Bocas refinery project’s finances clearly; it also estimates a delayed finishing date without further explanation.
The report describes PEMEX’s investment agenda for the year in detail. Generally, this report is supposed to include financial and material progress for each of the NOC’s projects. However, this year’s progress report for Dos Bocas in 2020 was “left blank”, according to a report from El Financiero. The filing only includes the following information: Dos Bocas “still requires US$13.5 million in investment and will be finished in November of 2022.” This does not fit with either the refinery’s approved budget for that year (US$2.5 billion) or the currently contemplated launch date (which President López Obrador still says is July 1st, 2022).
None of this was mentioned in this Monday’s routine video progress report of the refinery’s construction, which was presented by Rocio Nahle and highlighted her visit over the weekend to the construction site. The report included highlights such as the arrival of almost 20,000 tons of rebar through the Dos Bocas port and sulfur processing reactors built in Guadalajara. Other international sources for equipment and processing modules include Asian countries such as South Korea.
Disinformation regarding the status and budgeting of Dos Bocas has been a common occurrence in the past, given the project’s prominence in the political spotlight. For example, one month ago it was reported that the legislative chambers planned to approve a plan that would have the refinery be paid for with money taken directly from the general public’s 401k accounts; this turned out to be false.
However, analysts such as Mariana Campos, coordinator of the public spending program at México Evalúa, believe the project is still lacking a serious implementation in terms of the contracting and transparency of its international best practices. “I believe we could have better standards when it comes to information access. In the case of Dos Bocas, the information that is requested in SHCP briefings should not be misaligned with other available data. We are talking about a project that is not only polemic but also one that is occupying an important portion of the entire national infrastructure budget. A dedicated website that gives the public’s access to all of the project’s contracts would be required, similar to the one that used to exist for the NAICM.”