Pemex Crude Processing Slides in July, Production Lowest This Year

(Reuters) — Crude processing at Mexican state oil company Pemex's domestic refineries fell in July to 768,732 barrels per day (bpd), well below the goal of 1 million bpd set by the government in its effort to make the country self-sufficient in energy next year.

Pemex has averaged 821,233 bpd of crude processing per month this year at its six domestic refineries, above last year's average of 815,790 bpd.

While Pemex has boosted processing from lows near 600,000 per month at the start of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government in 2018, it remains far from producing enough diesel and gas to meet Mexico's needs and continues to import large volumes.

The oil company's results last month projected total capacity at 1.109 million bpd, in addition to its refinery operations in Deer Park, Texas.

The government hopes to boost this figure with contributions from its new Olmeca refinery at the Gulf Coast port of Dos Bocas, which has yet to fully come online despite its inauguration last year.

Reducing a longstanding dependence on fuel imports has been a key goal of Lopez Obrador's presidency, which ends next year.

Pemex imported 317,879 bpd of gasoline and 142,167 bpd of diesel in July, compared to domestic production of 265,771 bpd of gasoline and 153,553 bpd of diesel. It also imported 498,561 million cubic feet per day of dry natural gas.

Pemex's total crude production was 1.573 million bpd in July, the lowest level this year. Production of 282,000 bpd of condensates, which has been climbing since December, helped bring total hydrocarbon production to about 1.8 million bpd.

Crude exports meanwhile fell 13% in July from the highs of the year seen in June, averaging 1.05 million bpd.

In early July, Reuters reported that Pemex would have a crude production loss of some 100,000 bpd after a massive fire at an offshore platform. The company said at the end of that month that it had managed to restore production to 98%.

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