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Pemex is delivering only a fraction of feedstock to new Olmeca refinery

Mexican state energy company Pemex started sending 16,300 bpd of crude oil to its new Olmeca refinery this week, less than 5% of its total capacity, signaling another delay.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had built hugely ambitious infrastructure project in his home state Tabasco, describing it as "a dream come true," with the promise of weaning the country off gasoline and diesel imports, most of which come from the U.S.

With two weeks away from the presidential election, Pemex officials have been keen to show progress with the refinery in Dos Bocas, and that Lopez Obrador's promises had been kept. However, the previously unreported data also showed that in August, the refinery is scheduled to receive 170,000 bpd, still half of the feedstock needed for the 340,000-bpd plant.

The volumes, which two sources familiar with the operations confirmed, raise fresh questions over the progress of the roughly $16-B project, which has been running behind schedule and over budget. Inaugurated in July 2022, the refinery was then projected to run at half capacity the following July and reach full capacity in 2023, but several deadlines have not been met. 

Earlier this month, however, Pemex backtracked again and said it would process only 177,000 bpd this year before ramping up to full capacity in 2025.  The slow start at the new refinery in the southeastern part of the country means Mexico will still have to rely on refined fuel imports. Mexico will also continue to export its heavy crude oil against earlier expectations that the new refinery would lead to a sharp decline, easing tight supplies globally as major Middle East producers have reduced exports to meet their OPEC+ pledges.




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