PEMEX Lags Behind Refining Targets
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PEMEX Lags Behind Refining Targets

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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 02/09/2023 - 16:56

With the modernization of the six refineries already operating in the country and the prospect of getting the Dos Bocas-based Olmeca refinery opérations, PEMEX was hoping to close 2022 with a crude processing amount of 1.2MMb/d of refined fuels. The NOC lowered its goal to 900Mb/d later in the year but did not manage to achieve its objectives.

According to PEMEX, 2022’s refining levels reached an average of 816,010b/d, 14.6% more compared to 2021 when the figure was 711,585 b/d but 32% less than the first goal for 2022 and 9.3% less than the second target.

The state-owned company had previously stated that during the last two years of President López Obrador’s term, the Salina Cruz, Salamanca, Tula, Madero, Minatitlán and Cadereyta refineries would process 1.375MMb/d, reaching an 85% use of the National Refining System (SNR). One of López Obrador's promises on refining goals was for the SNR to produce at 85% of its capacity by 2021. However, this objective remains out of reach in the short term. During the first three years of the administration, the government invested MX$33.5 billion (US$1.782 billion) toward the rehabilitation of the SNR.

Furthermore, in its latest business plan, PEMEX did not propose to reach that level of refining capacity with only six refineries. The NOC promised that the 1.3MMb/d figure will be reached with the incorporation of Olmeca, which according to President López Obrador will start operating at its maximum capacity at the end of 2023, processing 340Mb/d. 

The president has repeatedly said that Mexico will achieve fuel self-sufficiency by the end of his administration and that the country will stop exporting crude to process it in PEMEX’s refineries. Until today, that plan has stagnated and its objectives seem far from achievable, say experts. 

Using the original goal set by PEMEX Director General Octavio Romero Oropeza as the guideline, the six refineries are underperforming. For Salina Cruz, a goal of 290Mb/d between this year and 2024 was set. Nevertheless, by the end of 2022, the refinery reported an average of 177Mb/d. 

In Tula, 290Mb/d were expected to be produced, but in 2022 the average was 179,462 b/d. Moreover, in Cadereyta, the NOC seeks to reach 230Mb/d of refined oil but reached 119.2Mb/d in 2022. For Minatitlán and Salamanca, the goal was 200Mb/d each. In 2022, they managed to produce 111,919b/d and 129,633b/d, respectively. As for Madero, the state-owned company hoped to refine 165Mb/d but processed 98,026b/d.

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