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Mexico leans on private gasoline imports in fuels crisis



By Argus

Petroleumworld 01 15 2019

State-owned Pemex and private-sector companies have increased the rate of gasoline imports into Mexico by a combined 36pc in January according to government data released to rebut claims of import cuts amid fuel shortages.

Fuel shortages began in late December in central and western Mexico following the government's decision to fight fuel theft by shutting down pipelines subject to repeated illegal taps and shifting fuel delivery to tank trucks.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has promised to wean Mexico off of its dependence on imported fuels in the long term, but has now called on the private sector to help with both fuel distribution and imports.

According to energy ministry (Sener) data disclosed for the first time Glencore was the largest gasoline importer in the first nine days of January with 18,500 b/d. ExxonMobil was second with 12,800 b/d and Windstar third with 9,800 b/d.

The private companies combined imported 49,700 b/d of gasoline, up by 19pc from the 41,900 b/d average rate in December.

Imports represented 78pc of the 788,000 b/d of gasoline consumed from January to October 2018 in Mexico. The portion of demand covered by imports might be even higher this month as Mexican refineries have been operating at lower than normal levels .

Pemex still brings in 94pc of the imported gasoline, with 764,800 b/d, up by 37pc from 559,000 b/d in December.

No values were disclosed for diesel or other fuels by the ministry. Its recently launched website with preliminary weekly data on fuel movements has been shut since 11 January. The shuttering of the site, estadisticashidrocarburos.gob.mx, during the height of the crisis was raised at a hearing in congress where Pemex's chief executive and the energy minister had been summoned but did not appear.

Glencore's imports showed the biggest jump following no imported volumes in December. The company started operations at its 600,000 bl Dos Bocas terminal in late August.

The rate of ExxonMobil's gasoline imports are down by 32pc from the average December rate to 12,800 b/d. The company's private rail and truck network has helped the company's Mobil-branded retail station avoid some of the fuel shortage in the rest of the country.

The third-largest importer, El Paso, Texas-based WindStar increased its gasoline imports by 27pc to 9,800 b/d in the first days of January.

Windstar's chief financial officer Reynold Gonzalez told Argus most of its imports went to Philips 66-branded stations in the north of the country, but an undisclosed volume went to other resellers in Mexico.

Marathon's subsidiary in Mexico, Tesoro, reduced its gasoline import rate by 73pc to 2,900 b/d. The company won the only successfully awarded open season of state-run Pemex.

Other international companies that are on the list of gasoline importers include Novum Energy, with 1,400 b/d, and Vitol with 200 b/d during both the first days of January and all of December.

Mexican private importers included retail group Combustibles de Oriente with 1,700 b/d as it has one of the few private fuel storage terminals in the state in Tamaulipas.

Mexican retail fuel station owners or retailers Impulsora de Productos Sustentables, Karzo, PetroTamps and Energeticos San Roberto all imported less than 1,000 b/d total.

Mexico's gasoline imports '000 b/d
Company 18 Dec 19 Jan* ±%
Pemex 559.0 764.8 +36.8
Glencore - 18.5 -
ExxonMobil 18.8 12.8 -31.9
Windstar 7.7 9.8 +27.3
Tesoro (Marathon) 10.7 2.9 -72.9
Combustibles de Oriente 0.9 1.7 +88.9
Novum 1.7 1.4 -17.6
Impulsora de Productos Sustentables 0.1 0.9 +800.0
Distribuidora de Combustibles Karzo 0.5 0.4 -20.0
Vitol 0.2 0.2 -
Grupo Petrotamps 0.0 0.2 -
Energeticos San Roberto 0.0 0.1 -
Others 1.3 0.8 -38.5
Total 600.9 814.5 +35.5
*import rate for the first nine days of January


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