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Mexico crude exports up after Tula refinery outage

  • : Crude oil, Oil products
  • 24/05/22

Mexican crude exports have bounced back in May after a power outage hit state-owned Pemex's 315,000 b/d Tula refinery last week, likely freeing more crude for the export market.

Crude exports rose to about 838,000 b/d so far in May, up by 18pc from full-month April but still 22pc lower compared with all of May 2023, according to trade analytics firm Kpler data.

The month-over-month hike was likely supported by a power outage at the Tula refinery on 13 May, which affected up to 20 processing plants, according to market sources.

It remains unclear if the refinery has resumed operations, but sources said the restart could take about two weeks.

The Tula refinery, which supplies refined products to Mexico City's metropolitan area, processed 246,500 b/d of crude in March, of which 182,000 b/d, or 74pc, was medium or light sour crude, according to the latest Pemex data.

Medium and light sour crude exports rose by 13pc to 336,000 b/d so far in May from the previous month, Kpler data show.

Additionally, fires at the Salina Cruz and Minatitlan refineries in late April could have also added to the uptick of crude exports.

Mexico this year trimmed crude exports to feed its domestic refineries as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador seeks to cut fuel imports in his final year in office, in line with his campaign promise to make Mexico more energy independent.

Pemex's six domestic refineries processed over 1mn b/d in March for the first time in almost eight years, driven by billion-dollar investments in maintenance since 2019 and the cut in crude exports.

The start-up of the new 340,000 b/d Olmeca refinery could further reduce crude exports, but the refinery still faces multiple delays.

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