Mexico plans to halt crude oil exports in 2023 as part of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s nationalist goal of self-sufficiency in fuel production.
Petroleos Mexicanos, the Mexican state-owned producer known as Pemex, will reduce daily crude exports next year by more than half to 435,000 barrels before phasing out sales to foreign customers the following year, Chief Executive Officer Octavio Romero said during a press conference in Mexico City on Tuesday.
The ambitious — and some say improbable — endeavor is part of Lopez Obrador’s drive to expand homegrown production of gasoline and diesel that Mexico now mostly buys from U.S. refiners. Like many major oil-producing nations, Mexico lacks the processing capacity to convert its oil bounty into fuels and other end-products.
If fulfilled, Pemex’s pledge will mark the exit from the international oil markets of one of its most prominent players of the past decades. At its peak in 2004, Pemex exported almost 1.9 million barrels a day to refineries from Japan to India and participated in OPEC meetings as an observer. Mexican crude also had a major influence on the U.S. oil refining heartland along the Gulf Coast where plants were configured to handle heavy, sulfur-rich oil.
Despite the pledge, questions abound over whether the heavily indebted state driller can achieve its goal, and many questions the logic of scrapping crude exports that are a significant source of cash for Mexico and Pemex bondholders. The company is shouldering a $113 billion debt load that is larger than that of any other oil explorer in the world.
Source: El Financiero