Mexico's New Olmeca Oil Refinery Now Seen Processing 243,000 bpd in 2024

Reuters, January 5, 2024

Mexican state oil company Pemex's top executive estimated on Thursday that the firm's newest refinery will process 243,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude in 2024 during its first year of operations, before ramping up to near full capacity in 2025.

The Olmeca refinery, one of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's flagship infrastructure projects, is also expected to produce a combined 274,000 bpd of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel by the time the president leaves office in September, according to a presentation by Pemex CEO Octavio Romero.

The presentation noted, however, that 2024 year-end gasoline, diesel and jet fuel output at the new refinery will then dip to 208,000 bpd.

The refinery built on Mexico's southern Gulf Coast has suffered multiple scheduling setbacks, including several missed targets to get it online, as well as running billions of dollars over budget. The refinery is set to have a capacity to process 340,000 bpd, which then-Energy Minister Rocio Nahle had said in September it would reach last year.

Adding its expected refining to the country's six existing domestic refineries, along with Houston-based Deer Park which Pemex took over in 2022, Romero forecast ramping up the company's overall crude processing to 1.5 million bpd in 2024, or up more than 40% compared to last year's processing volumes.

Deer Park is also seen producing 242,000 bpd of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in 2024, according to the presentation.

A top goal of Lopez Obrador's administration, now in its final year in office, has been to grow Pemex-produced gasoline and diesel while weaning the country off of its longstanding dependence on imported motor fuels, mostly from U.S.-based companies.

Speaking at the president's daily morning press conference, the Pemex chief also said the state-owned company's petroleum liquids production, including crude oil and condensate output, totaled about 1.88 million bpd last year, adding that private oil companies pumped another 67,000 bpd in 2023.

Romero also estimated that Pemex's 2024 proven oil reserves would stay steady at 7.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Valentine Hilarie; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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