President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador is betting on fossil fuels as a cornerstone of his energy policy, not only by renovating Mexico’s six refineries, but building two more in the southern Gulf of Mexico region.
One would be located in Atasta, Campeche, and the second in López’s home state, Tabasco. Each is estimated to cost US $6 billion.
On the campaign trail López promised the people of Tabasco that he would turn the state into “the oil capital of Mexico,” pledging that work on the new refinery would start in December, the month in which he will be sworn in, and would be concluded in three years’ time.
There are two options for the construction of the Tabasco refinery: the port town of Dos Bocas in the municipality of Paraíso, or Madero, in Centla.
The federal government already owns a 400-hectare piece of land in the first location, while in the second López’s team has identified a 60-hectare piece of land .
López’s choice for energy secretary, Norma Rocío Nahle García, has already traveled to India where she visited the world’s largest oil refinery, whose daily output is 1.2 million barrels. The petrochemical engineer described it as a successful project that Mexico should replicate.
Of the multi-billion-dollar price tag for each, Nahle explained that “refineries are a very profitable business, in five years they are paid for. Pemex refineries were paid for in five, six years.”
The goal of the new government will be to stop importing gasoline within three years. It says reducing the country’s dependence on foreign energy sources is an issue of national security.
An analysis of the country’s oil capabilities by López’s team found that the operations and the production of state-run oil company Pemex have “significantly deteriorated” over the last five years.
Crude oil production, the study found, has dropped by 15.5%, while that of natural gas fell 9.3%.
Oil exports have dropped by 4.9%, while oil reserves were estimated at 10 years, down from 12. Natural gas reserves were estimated to be good for four years, down from five.
Source: Milenio (sp)