PEMEX Refinery Catches FireThu, 04/08/2021 - 18:37
PEMEX’s Lazaro Cardenas refinery located in Minatitlan, Veracruz, was forced to shut down after its transference pumping stations caught fire, reports El Universal. There were no deaths in the incident; nevertheless, six PEMEX workers were reportedly injured: one person was treated for burns and five for intoxication. The rest of the personnel have been safely evacuated but the fire has not been extinguished, despite being under control according to PEMEX. At least five explosions have been reported, generating a mass panic in towns surrounding the refinery. The incident happened during a shift change at one of the refinery’s storage tanks. The precise cause of the fire has not been determined. ASEA is now also involved in mitigating risks and researching causes.
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New Hydrocarbons Law Will Not Save PEMEX: IMCO
The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO) has published an analysis in Animal Político, which claims that the currently proposed new hydrocarbons law will affect the private sector without creating a tangible financial benefit for PEMEX. The analysis claims that up to 1,603 national and foreign companies that operate in Mexico and 2,380 CRE-issued permits would be threatened by this new law. Furthermore, the analysis finds that this potential suspension of permits would not revert the negative financial and operational trends affecting the NOC´s balance sheets. In fact, additional responsibilities that these suspensions would create for PEMEX could place additional burdens in its already strained administrative capabilities.
PEMEX Delays Profitability to 2024
PEMEX’s latest business plan reports the NOC’s strategy to once again be profitable on a yearly basis by 2024. This information differs from the announcements made at the beginning of the López Obrador administration, which claimed PEMEX would be profitable by the end of this year. For PEMEX, 2020 ended with losses that amounted to US$24 billion. The NOC plans to increase its profits by developing its presence in international markets given its loss of market share in local industries. Mexico’s federal government has announced that it will assist PEMEX with its debt payments, which represents an expense that could total US$6.4 billion in 2021. With this financial aid, the NOC aims to reduce its debt to US$105 billion by the end of 2021.
Dos Bocas Delayed
The Dos Bocas refinery inauguration has been delayed according to PEMEX’s latest business plan. While President López Obrador had previously promised that the refinery would start operations on July 1, 2022, the NOC´s latest business plan expresses the “hope” that the refinery will become operational at some point in 2023, “if economic conditions allow for the appropriate investments to be made in its construction.” These investments are estimated by the business plan at US$2.23 billion during 2021 and US$5.75 billion for 2022, which are to be taken from PEMEX’s Industrial Transformation subsidiary budget.
Fuel Theft Now Surpassed by Natural Gas Theft
While addressing fuel theft crimes, President López Obrador explained that criminals went from stealing fuel to stealing natural gas and assured that his government will continue to fight these crimes. “We will not stop fighting against fuel theft. From the theft of gasoline, they went to the theft of gas, but we are already facing these types of crimes. The smuggling of gasoline is also being addressed and that is why the initiative on hydrocarbons was presented to have more control,” said the president.