Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has stressed his government's commitment to achieving energy self-sufficiency by 2023: "The aim is that next year we will stop buying petrol from abroad. We are going to be self-sufficient in our country", he declared at a press conference in Veracruz. The president has emphasised that his administration is capable of self-sufficiency in energy, which is one of the key promises on which López Obrador's election campaign hinged.
During the conference, López Obrador took the opportunity to recall that his government has kept the price of petrol below that recorded in the United States, where it has already reached a historic price of 5 dollars a gallon (3.78 litres). "We have been able to apply an effective policy (...) When have we ever seen petrol in Mexico cheaper than in the US?" he declared, referring to the upward trend in world prices.
During his speech, the president announced a new investment of 120 million pesos in two "anchor projects" to improve the facilities of the Salina Cruz refinery in Oaxaca. López Obrador said the first step will be to build a coker at the refinery, valued at 60 billion pesos, with the aim of making the most of the fuel material. "A coker will be built at the Salina Cruz refinery to process fuel oil, squeeze out the raw material and produce gasoline.
The second objective will be the creation of a liquefaction plant, valued at the same amount, which will serve to "take advantage of surplus gas" from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), an institution that will have a stake in the project. Along these lines, the head of the Mexican government is keeping his promise to strengthen the national energy companies, CFE and Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), in order to achieve the nation's energy self-sufficiency.
The government is making great efforts to achieve energy self-sufficiency, such as, for example, the purchase of the Deer Park refinery in the United States.
Self-sufficiency supported by the US
Last January the Mexican government signed the purchase of the Deer Park refinery, which has now become part of Mexico's national oil company. López Obrador intends to eliminate most Mexican oil exports over the next two years so that the country will be able to process more domestically. He wants to replace the supplies of gasoline and diesel that the country currently buys from other US refineries with fuel produced domestically or at the Deer Park refinery, which would be made from crude oil that will be imported from Mexico.
In this context, of the 436,000 barrels that are imported daily from Mexico, 250,000 are produced in Deer Park, which is currently working at 89% of its capacity, according to Octavio Oropeza, head of Pemex, who declared on 18 March.
With respect to the six refineries, which the president defines as "inherited", López Obrador assured that their rehabilitation already allows them to process 60% of crude oil, the equivalent of 840,000 barrels a day. Despite this, he stressed that the ultimate goal is to increase production to 1.2 million barrels a day.
To conclude his speech, López Obrador insisted that the construction and safeguarding of the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT) will henceforth be the responsibility of a company run by the Ministry of the Navy (Semar).
Coordinator for the Americas: José Antonio Sierra.