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Crude output at Pemex slumps to more than four-decade low

Annual total petroleum and liquids fuels production in Mexico.

Ana Isabel Martinez, Reuters

EnergiesNet.com 03 29 2024

Mexican state energy company Pemex said its crude oil production in February hit its lowest monthly level in 45 years, as output of the key commodity remained far from the goals laid out by outgoing President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

The company’s latest numbers, published late on Monday, showed Pemex pumped an average of 1.55 million barrels per day (bpd) in February, its lowest level since 1979.

The slumping oil output follows government efforts designed to prop up Pemex in an attempt to reach 1.9 million bpd.

Production at the highly indebted driller has been on a gradual decline from its peak of 3.4 million bpd two decades ago as many aging oil fields reach the end of their productive life and new discoveries coming online fail to compensate.

Lopez Obrador, who on the campaign trail in 2018 pledged to grow crude production to 3 million bpd, has progressively revised that estimate downward ever since.

February output fell 2.4% compared with the same month last year, even as the company counted 276,000 bpd of condensate liquids towards the overall number.

Condensate is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids that is not usually counted towards crude oil production.

Jesus Carrillo, an energy expert from the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, said the government’s push to strengthen Pemex – Lopez Obrador often describes his policy as a company “rescue” – had failed.

“They have spent an unprecedented amount of money supposedly rescuing Pemex and it’s becoming clear that this did not result in increased production,” said Carillo.

Pemex’s six local oil refineries, meanwhile, in February processed 17% more crude year on year.

The refineries also produced 371,000 bpd of gasoline and 113,000 bpd of diesel during the first two months of this year.

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Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Marguerita Choy

reuters.com 03 26 2024

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