Plans afoot for several mini-refineries in Mexico

 Mexico's geography in the Press, Updates to Geo-Mexico  Comments Off on Plans afoot for several mini-refineries in Mexico
Aug 292016
 

State-owned Pemex currently has six oil refineries in Mexico, which process around 1.05 million barrels/day (b/d) of crude.

The company has now shelved plans to add a $10-billion refinery at Tula (Hidalgo) owing to doubts about its long-term viability. It does seem that it is unlikely to be needed since Mexico’s energy reforms have led to several private companies submitting proposals to build less expensive, modular “mini-refineries” in Mexico. Each of these mini-refineries is 80-90% smaller than any of the six giant Pemex refineries.

Planned new refineries. Credit: El Economista / Refmex.com.mx

Planned new refineries. Credit: El Economista / Refmex.com.mx

A consortium of U.S. firms, Refinerías Unidas de México (Refmex), plans to invest 11.6 billion dollars to build 9 mini-refineries, starting with a $1.5billion refinery in Campeche with the capacity to refine between 40,000 and 60,000 b/d. Construction would take between 18 and 30 months.

Other proposed locations (map) include Cadereyta (Nuevo León), Dos Bocas (Tabasco), Minatitlán (Veracruz), Lázaro Cárdenas (Michoacán), Manzanillo (Colima), Salina Cruz (Oaxaca), Tula (Hidalgo) and Tuxpan (Veracruz). Several of these locations are in the recently announced federal Special Economic Zones, which offer fiscal incentives to investors.

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Feb 042016
 

Remittances sent home by Mexican migrants (almost all of them residing in the USA) rose to $24.8 billion last year, up 4.75% compared to 2014.

The average remittance sent to Mexico in 2015 was $292.00, a slight decline. Almost all remittances (97%) are now sent via electronic transfer.

Figure 1 of Pew Report

Figure 1 of Pew Report. Shaded area is period of recession.

Low oil prices have led to a sharp decline in the value of Mexico’s oil exports. Oil revenues last year totaled $23.4 billion, which means that remittances now exceed oil revenues as a source of foreign exchange. Before the implementation of NAFTA in 1994, oil revenues accounted for around 80% of all Mexico’s foreign exchange. In 2015, that figure was less than 20%, showing the degree of economic diversification that has been achieved post-NAFTA.

The value of oil exports in 2015 was also significantly lower than the value of manufactured goods exports, or the value of agricultural exports.

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Illegal pipeline connection causes oil spill in northern Mexico

 Mexico's geography in the Press  Comments Off on Illegal pipeline connection causes oil spill in northern Mexico
Sep 222014
 

The illegal tapping of a Pemex oil pipeline in the northern state of Nuevo León caused an oil spill in August 2014 that contaminated a 6.5-kilometer-long stretch of the San Juan River.

According to Víctor Cabrera, state delegate for the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa), about 23 kilometers of channels (mostly irrigation channels) have been affected in total. Profepa advised residents to avoid using water from the places affected and not to consume local fish.

nuevo-leon-oil-spill-Hector Guerrero

Photo by Hector Guerrero

The illegal connection to the Madero-Cadereyta pipeline was first detected on 16 August 2014, and has been attributed to the criminal activities of organized crime. It allowed some 4000 barrels of crude oil to spill into the San Juan River.

The spill affected the agricultural communities of Mexiquito, La Fragua, Soledad Herrera, Santa Isabel, Hacienda Dolores, La Concepción and San Juan, home to approximately 6000 people.

The Nuevo León state governor Rodrigo Medina told reporters that an analysis carried out by water and drainage authorities and the National Water Commission (Conagua) had shown that the local aquifers had not been contaminated. The oil spill did not reach El Cuchillo Dam, located some 70 kilometers downstream from the spill, which is one of three main reservoirs supplying potable water to the Monterrey metropolitan area.

More than 500 workers from Pemex and other organizations have been employed to clean up the spill. Within two weeks, 90% of the oil spilled had been recovered and removed, according to a Pemex report. Officials expect the clean-up work on the river banks and in the irrigation ditches to take another two months to complete.

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Pemex works at its Clean Fuels Policy

 Mexico's geography in the Press  Comments Off on Pemex works at its Clean Fuels Policy
May 222014
 

As part of its Clean Fuels Policy, Pemex is modernizing its refineries in Ciudad Madero, Minatitlán, Salamanca, Salina Cruz and Tula.The total investment involved is 3.4 billion dollars. The plan, which will take 4 years to complete, includes the construction of new plants in several of the locations

Pemex installations in Mexico. (Adapted from Fig 15.5 of Geo-Mexico). All rights reserved.

Pemex installations in Mexico. (Adapted from Fig 15.5 of Geo-Mexico). All rights reserved.

The objective is to produce Ultra Low Sulfur diesel fuel (UBA) in the five refineries, in compliance with Mexican standards. The new technology will reduce vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides by between 50 and 80%.

Since last September, 42,500 barrels/day of ultra low sulfur gasoline is already being produced at the Pemex refinery in Cadereyta, Nuevo León.

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Pemex defines its priority areas for oil and gas

 Updates to Geo-Mexico  Comments Off on Pemex defines its priority areas for oil and gas
Apr 212014
 

Recent reforms to the energy sector have meant that Pemex has had to define its priority areas, those areas where it wishes to continue exploration and development. At a later date, it is then possible for the government to ask for bids from other oil companies, and award contracts to explore and develop oil and gas fields in other areas of Mexico. The first stage is known as Round Zero.

In March, Pemex published its portfolio of areas for exploration for “Round Zero” (Ronda Cero), with preliminary data for 2P (proven, probable) and 3P (proven, probable, possible) reserves as of the start of this year. 2P reserves totaled 24.174 billion barrels of crude equivalent, while 3P reserves totaled 43.8 billion barrels. The figures, slightly lower than the equivalent figures from January 2013, have not yet been confirmed by independent auditors.

Map from Pemex "Round Zero" document

Map from Pemex “Round Zero” document

46% of probable reserves are located in Chicontepec (Proyecto Terciario del Golfo) in Veracruz, and 43% in offshore regions including the Akal, Balam, Ayatsil, Maloob, Kunah and Tsimín fields.

56% of possible reserves are located in Chicontepec, and an additional 34% in offshore regions.

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Energy reforms and Mexico-USA Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement

 Mexico's geography in the Press, Updates to Geo-Mexico  Comments Off on Energy reforms and Mexico-USA Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement
Jan 302014
 

Mexico recently approved the most significant energy reforms since the nationalization of the oil industry in 1938. The reforms end the 75-year monopoly over the energy industry enjoyed by state oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), opening the way for private investment in petroleum exploration and production.

The proposals do not allow foreign ownership of mineral or oil resources, but do allow private sector firms to participate in refineries and distribution networks, as well as sign profit-sharing contracts with state oil giant Pemex and the Federal Electricity Commission. The reforms include a revised tax regime for Pemex, the world’s fifth-leading oil producer, and its reorganization into two subsidiaries.

Mexico’s oil production has risen recently to 2.5 million barrels/day (b/d) and is expected to reach 3 million b/d by 2018.

The Mexico-USA Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement (THA) has been approved by senators in Washington. The accord allows both countries to explore and develop crude reserves that straddle their exclusive economic zones in the Gulf of Mexico. It establishes “an environmentally safe and responsible framework to explore, develop, and share revenue from hydrocarbon resources that lie in waters beyond each country’s exclusive, economic zones,” according to White House National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden.

location of doughnut holes

The two “doughnut holes” where Mexican and US Exclusive Economic Zone claims overlap

The American Petroleum Institute has hailed the possibility of Mexico-USA joint projects in the Gulf of Mexico. The reserves in the maritime boundary region are believed to total more than 170 million barrels of oil and 15 million metric tons of natural gas, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

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Mexico’s Pemex is one of the most competitive oil firms in the world

 Updates to Geo-Mexico  Comments Off on Mexico’s Pemex is one of the most competitive oil firms in the world
Dec 022013
 

Despite the criticisms regularly leveled at it, Mexico’s oil giant Pemex is actually one of the most competitive oil firms in the world.

First, its costs of exploration and production are much lower than those of most other major oil companies. Pemex’s production costs in 2012 averaged 6.84 dollars/barrel (d/b) of oil equivalent, well below the costs incurred by international rivals Exxon (9.91 d/b), Chevron (15.16), Total (8.17), Shell (12.47) and British Petroleum (12.50).

pemexPemex’s exploration and development costs are also among the world’s lowest. They fell from 16.13 d/b in 2011 to 13.77 d/b in 2012, mainly due to the discovery of several new reserves. Among major players, only Shell had lower costs (11.75 d/b), with Pemex well ahead of British Petroleum (17.37 d/b), Exxon (19.31), Total (22.68) and Chevron (28.81).

Thirdly, as new fields are fully explored, Mexico’s proven oil reserves are expected to continue to rise for a number of years, from the current level of 13.87 billion barrels to 14.92 billion barrels by 2018. (During this period, Pemex will extract an estimated 6.64 billion barrels, but they will be more than replaced by anticipated new discoveries)

How important is Pemex to the Mexican economy?

One third of Mexico’s national budget comes from the petro industry, which accounted for 7.6% of GDP in 2012.

In 2012, Pemex invested 23.9 billion dollars in Mexico, appreciably more than the 19.2 billion dollars invested that year by América Móvil, Femsa, Walmart, Frisco, Cemex, Liverpool, Alfa and Mexichem, combined.

In terms of revenues, Pemex had revenues in 2012 of 142.4 billion dollars, greater than the 139.1 billion dollars in revenues of América Móvil, WalMart, Femsa, Alfa and Cemex combined.

According to a Bloomberg analysis, between 1973 and 2012, Pemex generated a cash flow (before tax and depreciation) that was 63% higher than the total cash flow of all the firms listed on the Mexican Stock Market. In 2012, the Ebitda (Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) of Pemex was 88.2 billion dolalrs, compared to the combined 54.2 billion dolalrs of Ebitda for América Móvil, Banorte, Femsa, Walmart de México, Grupo Modelo, Cemex, Kof, Televisa, Peñoles and Alfa.

How important is Pemex in the worldwide picture?

According to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, U.S. Energy Information Administration and U.S. Crude Oil Imports by Country, Pemex is one of the world’s five most important crude oil producers, after Aramco (Sauid Arabia), NIOC (Iran), CNPC (China) and KPC (Kuwait).

Pemex is the third largest oil exporter to the USA, after Canada and Saudi Arabia, but ahead of Venezuela and Nigeria.

Pemex installations in Mexico. (Adapted from Fig 15.5 of Geo-Mexico). All rights reserved.

Pemex installations in Mexico. (Adapted from Fig 15.5 of Geo-Mexico). All rights reserved.

Mexico has the world’s 13th largest crude oil reserves and Pemex has the world’s 15th highest oil company revenues.

Mexico’s proposed energy reforms, which will allow private sector firms more access to some parts of the oil and gas sector, will only serve to boost the competitiveness of Mexico’s oil industry. The major problems facing Pemex are not directly related to revenues or to competitiveness, but are the persistence of corruption and a lack of transparency.

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Mexico has the world’s highest level of energy security among large economies

 Mexico's geography in the Press, Updates to Geo-Mexico  Comments Off on Mexico has the world’s highest level of energy security among large economies
Apr 042013
 

According to a recently published U.S. Chamber of Commerce study of the largest energy-consuming nations, Mexico is the most energy secure country of the 25 countries in the large energy user group with a score 14% below the OECD average (see graph).

energy security graph (US Congress)

The study compiled an “International Index of Energy Security Risk”, taking into account 28 metrics including fossil-fuel imports, power generation and carbon-dioxide emissions, using data from sources such as the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Paris-based International Energy Administration.

Other countries with high levels of energy security included the U.K., Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia and the U.S. (Which tanked 7th overall. Energy security was lowest in the Ukraine, followed by Thailand, South Korea, the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy, Turkey and Japan.

Mexico’s energy security has ranked as first or second among the large energy user group of countries every year since 1980. The metrics where Mexico has a significant comparative advantage over other OECD members include:

  • low amount it spends on fuel imports per dollar of GDP generated
  • low energy expenditures per dollar of GDP and per capita are also lower
  • low costs to produce electricity.
  • low amount of energy each person uses, both overall and in the transport sector
  • low amount of carbon dioxide each person emits

As the graph shows, however, Mexico’s energy security is edging closer to that of OECD countries, meaning that Mexico’s comparative advantage in energy security is slowly shrinking.

Mexico is the world’s seventh largest oil producer, and also a major oil exporter. While production levels had been declining, they have begun to rise again in recent months. Mexico also has large reserves of natural gas, but these have not been developed quickly enough to prevent imports of natural gas from rising sharply in recent years as demand for natural gas outstrips domestic supply.

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Pemex boosts reserves and reduces its emissions

 Mexico's geography in the Press, Updates to Geo-Mexico  Comments Off on Pemex boosts reserves and reduces its emissions
Dec 032012
 

It may come as something of a surprise to many observers, but during 2012, Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex (Petróleos Mexicanos) has received several well-deserved plaudits for its efforts to slash the emissions associated with oil and gas exploration, reserves and production.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Global Reporting Initiative awarded Pemex the highest possible rating for social responsibility. The company also received excellent ratings for sustainable asset management. During 2011, Pemex’s proven reserves increased 1.1%, while the petro-giant cut total emissions by 17.3% compared to the previous year. Crude oil output averaged 2.55 million barrels a day in 2011. Carbon dioxide emissions were down 8.8% in 2011, while sulfur oxides have now fallen more than 50% since 2007.

Meanwhile, the production division of Pemex has been praised by World Bank experts for having reduced burn-off from its giant Cantarell gas field from 31% in 2008 to 3% in July 2011. Pemex has invested more than 1.6 billion dollars in the Cantarell field over the last six years in order to improve efficiency, with the installation of compressors, flow separation devices and re-injection technology. In the past three years, it has reduced total emissions, including greenhouse gases, from 13.6 billion cubic meters a year to 2.1 billion. Pemex is well on track to beat its target of 99% efficiency in gas recovery by 2014.

Crude oil production has risen steadily in 2012. For example, in August 2012, Pemex produced 2.56 million barrels of oil a day (b/d), its highest output since May 2011. The Chicontepec field in Veracruz is doing especially well. Its single best-performing well, named Presidente Alemán 1565, uses innovative technology, including three dimensional seismic mapping and horizontal drilling, to yield as much as the combined output of 28 other wells in the region.

Mexico’s current 3P (proven, probable, possible) reserves are also on the rise, and currently total 43 billion barrels of crude oil equivalent. After years of depletion, Pemex is now adding more oil and gas each year to its reserves than it is extracting. The oil giant recently announced a huge deep water, light crude discovery in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Tamaulipas, its first major find in the Perdido Fold Belt, where the total 3P reserves could be as high as 10 billion barrels. The Trión-1 well, drilled to a total depth of 4,500 meters (14,800 feet), is 40 km (25 miles) inside Mexico’s territorial waters and is expected to yield up to 400 million barrels of high quality crude.

Pemex also recently reported the largest land-based discovery of oil for about a decade. The Navegante-1 well, drilled in the South-East Basins 20 km from Villahermosa (Tabasco) found light crude oil with an APR gravity of 45 degrees, at a depth of 6800 meters. The field is 87 square kilometers in area and has estimated 3P reserves of about 300 million barrels of crude oil equivalent.

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How many oil refineries does Pemex have?

 Mexico's geography in the Press, Updates to Geo-Mexico  Comments Off on How many oil refineries does Pemex have?
Sep 222012
 

If many of the press reports about the tragic events that led to the death of 29 Pemex workers in Reynosa (Tamaulipas) are to be believed, the problem was an explosion in a Pemex oil refinery. There is just one small “detail” in these statements: there is no Pemex oil refinery in or near Reynosa!

The accident occurred during maintenance at a gas pipeline distribution center, which is a very different industrial installation to an oil refinery.

For the record, Pemex currently has six oil refineries in Mexico, shown on the map below, and listed here by their 2007 production in barrels/day (b/d):

  • Tula Refinery, Hidalgo (289,000 b/d)
  • Salina Cruz Refinery, Oaxaca (272,000 b/d)
  • Cadereyta Refinery, Nuevo León (217,000 b/d)
  • Salamanca Refinery, Guanajuato (188,000 b/d)
  • Minatitlan Refinery, Veracruz  (170,000 b/d)
  • Ciudad Madero Refinery,  Tamaulipas (141,000 b/d)
Pemex installations in Mexico. (Adapted from Fig 15.5 of Geo-Mexico). All rights reserved.

Pemex installations in Mexico (adapted from Fig 15.5 of Geo-Mexico). All rights reserved.

The six Pemex refineries produce liquid gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene and other fuels. The state oil giant is expanding its refining capacity by building a second oil refinery, Refinería Bicentenario, in Tula (Hidalgo). Expected to cost around 10 billion dollars in total, it will have the capacity to process 300,000 barrels of crude a day and is expected to be operational sometime in 2016.

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