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Bulkmatic eyes Mexico fuel storage projects

25 Jan 2017 11:00 GMT
Bulkmatic eyes Mexico fuel storage projects

Mexico City, 25 January (Argus) — Transportation and storage company Bulkmatic de Mexico is holding an open season to gauge interest in a proposal to build a fuel storage terminal near Pemex's 320,000 b/d Tula refinery, the firm told Argus.

The company will hold an open season on plans to build storage for up to 600,000 bls — in ten 60,000 bls tanks — of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, oxygenates and additives. The terminal, estimated to cost about $45mn, would receive products via rail.

The open season will begin on 1 February and run until 30 March.

Bulkmatic operates in various sectors in Mexico, including fuels, petrochemicals and minerals.

Bulkmatic plans to launch a second open season next month for another storage terminal near Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city, in the northern state of Nuevo Leon, said Francisco Melo, head of marketing for the firm's hydrocarbon division. The second terminal project includes storage capacity of up to 720,000 bls, in twelve 60,000 bls tank.

Bulkmatic says it will be working with railway company Kansas City Southern, the only provider able to access both new products terminals.

"We're building these fuel storage terminals for the opportunities created by new pipeline projects, such as the one that will connect Corpus Christi [Texas] to Monterrey," Melo said, referring to the Howard Energy Partner cross-border project, Dos Aguilas.

Melo said Bulkmatic de Mexico already has rail access and terminals, where the company transfers products from rail cars directly into trucks. "All we need are storage tanks," he said.

The firm is also considering building a third fuel storage terminal in Hermosillo, in the northern state of Sonora, in 2018-2019.

Last week Pemex announced it had imported fuel from Texas using privately owned infrastructure for the first time in decades, renting fuel capacity in a storage terminal owned by Mexican conglomerate Grupo SIMSA.

The development of private infrastructure in Mexico comes after the sweeping 2014 energy reform that ended Pemex's upstream and downstream monopolies. Mexico is hoping to boost private-sector investment to expand its fuel transportation and storage infrastructure throughout the country.

The energy secretary unveiled in December 2016 a new storage policy to increase the country's overall fuel storage to 30 days. Under the proposed policy, fuel distributors, retailers and refiners will need a minimum supply reserve of 15 days by 2025. The final regulation will be published in March 2017 after industry review.

Currently, energy officials say that Pemex has at most a 15-day oil reserve nationwide, lower than the 38 days in Italy and the UK and 30 in the neighboring US.