Low fuel inventories and declining oil production have contributed to the gasoline shortage currently affecting several states, according to the Energy Secretariat (Sener).
In central Mexico – Mexico City, México state, Querétaro, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Puebla and Morelos – the quantity of gasoline in storage facilities is only enough for one day.
In other words, if no new gasoline deliveries arrive via pipelines, tanker trucks or other means in a 24-hour period, reserves in the region will be completely depleted. Diesel autonomy in central Mexico is only slightly better at 1.3 days.
Some gas stations in Mexico City were forced to close yesterday because they had completely run out of fuel. Stations in some other central Mexican states have been affected by fuel shortages for a week or longer.
As part of its strategy to combat fuel theft, the federal government has altered the way in which gasoline is distributed, making greater use of tanker trucks rather than pipelines, some of which have been closed completely.
President López Obrador has said repeatedly that the fuel shortage in some parts of the country is due to logistics rather than a lack of supply.
Sener’s data on gasoline and diesel autonomy highlights the vulnerability of different regions of Mexico to fuel shortages if product doesn’t reach them in a timely fashion, as has occurred recently.
At a national level, gasoline inventories in storage facilities is sufficient to meet demand for 3.1 days but in parts of the country where shortages have occurred, the figure is lower.
In western Mexico, the quantity of gasoline in storage is enough for two days while for diesel, it’s 2.6 days.
Three of the six states in the region – Michoacán, Jalisco and Guanajuato – have been hit hard by the fuel shortages, which were first reported in the last week of December.
In Mexico’s southeast – comprising Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo – gasoline autonomy is 1.9 days while for diesel it’s just 0.6 days.
In the northwestern and northern regions of the country, gasoline autonomy is considerably better at 8.5 and 7.6 days respectively but in the northeast, where fuel shortages have affected Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, gas autonomy is just 2.2 days.
In the Gulf of Mexico region, made up of Veracruz and Tabasco, there is sufficient gasoline for 4.5 days while in the south – Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero – there is enough for 3.1 days.
The fuel autonomy data relates to levels recorded in the second half of December.
In the same period, the state oil company reported gasoline production of 203,000 barrels per day, which is only enough to meet 25.5% of national demand.
Mexico’s six oil refineries were collectively operating at only 30% of their capacity in October, according to Pemex, a situation that López Obrador has pledged to remedy.
Declining oil production has forced Mexico to increasingly rely on imports.
According to Sener, Pemex purchased just over 18.8 million barrels of foreign gasoline in November, of which 94% came from six countries: the United States, the Netherlands, France, Spain, South Korea and China. Private importers purchased 1.1 million barrels of foreign fuel during the same month.
López Obrador said yesterday that the government’s anti-fuel theft strategy has already generated savings of 2.5 billion pesos (US $129.1 million) because the incidence of the crime, which has cost Mexico billions of pesos annually in recent years, has declined by 78%.
However, for motorists and business owners in states affected by the fuel shortages, the savings touted by the president are probably of little consolation.
Source: El Universal (sp)