After being questioned by Congress, Octavio Romero, CEO, PEMEX, denied on Monday any claims that the state-owned company has donated crude oil to another foreign government.
Mexico began regular exports of crude oil and other products to Cuba at the end of 2Q23. Since then, it has dispatched around 2.8MMb to the island, which is experiencing power cuts and a shortage of motor fuels, according to independent data and analysis.
“PEMEX has not made any fuel donations to any foreign government,” Romero said, when questioned by a congresswoman during an appearance before legislators. "I am not lying," he added. However, the official did not mention the shipments made so far or whether there has been any economic compensation for Mexico.
The Cuban-flagged tanker Vilma was at the Mexican terminal of Pajaritos in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, loading about 400Mb of crude oil for export to Cuba, according to LSEG data. Previously, Mexico sent 350Mb of PEMEX crude to Cuba at no cost in June, followed by another 700Mb the following month, marking its first exports to the island since 2019, according to port authority data and ship movements tracked by Bloomberg.
The gift appeared to be part of a renewed effort by AMLO, as the president is known to strengthen ties with Havana. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alicia Bárcena said the donations were made through the nation's International Development Cooperation Agency.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has consistently urged the US to end its trade embargo, initially imposed six decades ago following Fidel Castro's rise to power in Cuba. Bárcena reiterated this plea during her UN speech, characterizing it as "entirely unwarranted, in violation of international law and unrelated to the values and harmonious coexistence upheld among the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean."
Although PEMEX did not export oil to Cuba in August, according to the data, the two previous shipments held significant potential value in the open market. The July donation was estimated at US$54 million, while the June shipment could have reached approximately US$23 million, based on the average price of Mexican crude oil during those respective months.