Mexico's Pemex chooses Bechtel for technology at new Tula refinery

By LAURENCE ILIFF

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said Friday it had signed a contract with Bechtel for technical assistance and the licensing of refinery technologies for a new refinery Pemex is building in the central Mexican city of Tula, Hidalgo.

The $12.54 million contract is for the design-and-licensing costs for a coker plant with a capacity of 166,000 bpd, Pemex said.

The new Tula refinery is being built near a current Pemex refinery and is designed to increase the production of low-sulfur gasoline and diesel fuel.

Pemex said Bechtel has 480 days to fulfill the contract, adding the company was chosen for its technologies that reduce down time and add flexibility to the refining process, among other reasons.

The $10 billion refinery is estimated to be completed by the end of 2015.

Earlier this year, Pemex awarded a $135 million contract for engineering-and-management services to ICA Fluor Daniel for the first phase of the new refinery, which is called Tula Bicentenary to celebrate Mexico's 200 years of independence from Spain.

ICA Fluor Daniel is an industrial-engineering firm jointly owned by Mexico's Empresas and Fluor.

In 2011, Pemex awarded a $7.5 million contract for the construction of a perimeter wall for the refinery.

Pemex CEO Juan Jose Suarez Coppel said at an oil conference this week the new Tula refinery makes sense for logistical reasons, even though building a new refinery is much more expensive than buying current refining assets in the US and elsewhere.

He cited cost savings from transporting fuel oil as one of the advantages of the new refinery, given its central location.


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