Pemex is a few months away from closing a project agreement with a group led by Japanese company Mitsui, which will help the company increase the amount of fuel produced in its Tula flagship refinery by approximately 40 percent.
When closed, the agreement will have an investment value of $2.6 billion USD, reducing Mexico’s dependence on imports from the United States.
The Tula project “is what we are focusing our attention on,” said Carlos Murrieta, director of the subsidiary Pemex Transformación Industrial. “We need to discuss many things, but we are about to close the deal.”
The consortium, made up of the Japanese Mitsui and Cosmo Oil, the Spanish Compañía Española de Petróleos, and a joint venture between Empresas ICA and Fluor in the United States, will build and operate a coking plant at the Hidalgo refinery.
The project is one of the largest investments of a private company in the refining sector in Mexico since the country enacted reforms several years ago that promised to revive Pemex’s plants in crisis.
Fuel theft is a huge obstacle to refinery operations, future investments and worker safety. Major maintenance could change this, said Carlos Murrieta.
Thus, the company expects to finish work at its Minatitlán and Madero refineries by the end of March and begin repairs at the Tula and Salamanca plants this year.
Last year, Cadereyta was remodeled and the largest refinery in the country, Salina Cruz, was disconnected for months because Pemex sought to repair damages from natural disasters.