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Mexican government says imports of US fuels to continue



By Argus

Petroleumworld 01 15 2019

Mexico's government insists that it has continued to import gasoline and diesel from the US even as fuel shortages caused by the government's anti-fuel theft efforts go into their third week.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said over the weekend that the country has not intentionally reduced its fuel imports, despite his campaign promise to wean his country off this dependence in the long term.

"It is completely false that we are buying less gasoline," Lopez Obrador said, calling media reports that Mexico had intentionally ratcheted down its imports incorrect. "Unfortunately we are buying more fuels from the US and I have data to prove it."

The president did not provide specific import data.

Lopez Obrador said the country will increase US fuel imports as soon as possible to help solve the fuel supply disruptions after the government moved to distribute refined products by tank truck instead of pipeline in the most theft-prone regions. Fuel theft, mostly by pipeline tapping, cost Mexico $3.3bn in 2018, according to the administration.

The US exported 727,000 b/d of finished motor gasoline to all countries in the week ended 4 January, down by 17pc from the last week of 2018, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). There is no weekly data for exports by destination country but over the last decade Mexico has been the primary destination of US gasoline, absorbing 57pc of these exports. The US exported 621,000 b/d of gasoline in October to Mexico, according to the EIA.

Preliminary data from Mexico's ministry of energy (Sener) show gasoline imports reached 731,000 b/d in the week ended 28 December, up by 37pc from the previous week, while diesel imports grew by 11pc to 313,000 b/d in the same period. Although Sener does not detail weekly imports by country of origin, 90pc of Mexican gasoline imports came from the US on average from November 2017 through November 2018.

Weekly Mexican import stats for the week ended 4 January are not yet available.

There is a delay in tanker discharges in the Gulf of Mexico, vessel tracking data shows, as storage tanks near the ports are well stocked. Offloading to trucks can take between nine and 18 hours. Yet the backlog is not significantly worse than normal, as Mexican ports frequently face delays because of its saturated storage capacity.

To try to alleviate the problem, Pemex will make it easier for non-union trucks to load gasoline and diesel at the state-owned company's terminals.


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