By LAURENCE ILIFF
MEXICO CITY Mexicos state-owned oil company
Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, is working with industry and
government power utility Comision Federal de Electricidad, or
CFE, to manage limited natural-gas supplies in the wake of a
Sept. 18 plant explosion near the northern border city of
Reynosa that killed 30 workers, oil company executives said
Pemex CEO Juan Jose Suarez Coppel said that in addition to
increasing gas imports from the US to the maximum possible
level through pipelines, the company is working with the
industry group Concamin and the CFE to see if all can agree on
how to spread the extra costs that would come from importing
more expensive liquefied natural gas, or LNG, through the
Pacific port of Manzanillo.
Mr. Suarez said at a news conference he expects it will take
about 15 days to complete a bypass that will allow gas to flow
once again from the northern Burgos gas fields to the central
part of the country.
He said the gas-reception center damaged by blast is a
relatively new plant and that the cause of the accident is
being investigated by authorities and international
Mr. Suarez said there was no evidence that the explosion was
Pemex's director of operations, Carlos Murrieta, said that
800 million cubic feet/day of natural of Burgos production were
halted by the blast, and that about half that amount has been
effectively replaced through a combination of imports and
trimming use of the fuel at Pemex and CFE.
Mr. Murrieta said the pressure in Pemexs natural-gas
pipeline system currently is above critical levels.
CFE said recently that it is using more fuel oil and diesel
fuel because of the gas shortage, which preceded the Pemex
accident at Reynosa.
Mr. Suarez said that natural-gas cutbacks will not affect
Pemex's output of crude oil. Pemex pumps natural gas into oil
fields to increase pressure and output, but the gas is
recovered and reinjected, so the practice is not gas
consumption so much as gas recycling, he said.
Pemex is a major exporter of crude-oil, but a net importer
of natural gas and had been importing more than one billion
cubic feet/ day in recent months to try and satisfy increasing
demand for the cheap gas from heavy industry.
Dow Jones Newswires