Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sale of three Pemex hydrogen plants under investigation

A division of Pemex is under investigation by the federal government for corruption over the sale of three hydrogen plants.

Between September 2017 and July 2018, Pemex Industrial Transformation (TRI) sold the hydrogen plants at the refineries in Tula, Hidalgo; Cadereyta, Nuevo León; and Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, to the companies Air Liquide México, Gazsur and Linde Gas North America.

Linde Gas paid 35 million euros (US $39.5 million) for the Ciudad Madero plant, according to the company’s financial report for the first quarter of 2018. The prices the other two companies paid have not been revealed.

TRI also directly awarded contracts to the companies for the supply of hydrogen.

Under the terms of the contracts, which are currently under investigation by the Secretariat of Energy (Sener), Pemex buys US $2.9 million worth of hydrogen from the three companies each month.

Just under US $1.5 million goes to Air Liquide México, US $774,000 goes to Linde Gas North America and US $644,000 is paid to Gazsur.

However, the real costs are undoubtedly much higher because under the terms of the contracts, Pemex has to supply the companies with the inputs they need to produce the hydrogen, including natural gas, water, energy and nitrogen.

According to Pemex documents, the purpose of entering into the agreements with the private companies was to guarantee the reliable supply of hydrogen at a low cost and to reduce the number of “unscheduled stoppages” at the refineries.

However, all three refineries have been affected by stoppages since the contracts were signed.

During a visit to the Tula refinery last month, federal Energy Secretary Rocío Nahle said that workers told her that former Pemex officials “sold the plant before they left and now we have to pay the new owners almost US $1 million a month so that they give us hydrogen.”

Former Pemex CEO Carlos Treviño said the sale of the plants was justified because it would reduce costs.

Federal authorities are also investigating another former Pemex CEO, Emilio Lozoya, for bribes he allegedly received from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for the awarding of a contract for work at the Tula refinery.

In addition, past and current officials at the state oil company are under the microscope for possible links to fuel theft.

Source: El Universal (sp), Forbes México (sp) 

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