UPDATE 2-Mexico proposes historic crude oil swap with United States
(Adds Pemex source comment, tentative timeline)
By Ana Isabel Martinez
MEXICO CITY Jan 8 (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil company, Pemex, said on Thursday it has proposed an oil swap with the United States, potentially ushering in the first sustained crude imports by Mexico from its northern neighbor after years of self-sufficiency.
Pemex said in a statement it had set out a plan to import up to 100,000 barrels a day of light crude and condensates to mix with its own heavier crude at domestic refineries.
Under the proposal, Mexico would in exchange provide the United States with heavier Mexican crude for processing at U.S. refineries, and would use the imports from the United States to boost local gasoline and diesel output, Pemex said.
An official at Pemex said the oil swap could go ahead as soon as the first quarter of this year.
While Mexican officials signaled their readiness to import crude several times last year, Thursday's news is the first official confirmation that they are seeking a formal swap that would open the door to sales despite a 40-year-old U.S. ban on exports.
If approved, the imports could be a watershed in energy relations with the United States, where output has surged because of a shale boom.
Up until now, Mexico, the world's 10th biggest producer of crude, has focused on exporting much of that oil, though it already imports much of its gasoline. Continuación...