25 October 2018, News Wires — Mexico’s president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has criticized state-run Pemex’s plan to import U.S. light crude from refiner Phillips 66, calling it a sign of the country’s failed economic policies.
Pemex is set to begin crude imports in November, for the first time in over a decade. It needs them to feed Mexico’s main refinery, which is working below capacity due to a lack of light oil.
The purchase of 1.4 million barrels of U.S. Bakken crude will follow a tender awarded earlier this week to Phillips 66. Up to 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude imports are planned for the last quarter of 2018.
“This announcement … is another example of the great failure of neo-liberal economic policies in the last 30 years,” Lopez Obrador said on Twitter.
Once he takes power in December, Lopez Obrador could force Pemex to halt the imports, which would likely impact domestic refining and boost the need for other kinds of imported fuel.
The issue has divided opinion among his allies.
One of his economic advisers, Abel Hibert, said earlier this month that crude imports could continue as a way to increase processing levels at Mexico’s refineries, even after Lopez Obrador takes office.
“I think Pemex has good reason to do it due to current market conditions,” he told local media.
Mexico’s light crude output has declined faster than expected this year, hit by operational problems at the Xanab oilfield.
Pemex chief executive Carlos Trevino has said the company’s goal of producing 1.95 million bpd of crude this year will not be met, and that the 2019 target is also likely to be missed.