UPDATE 2-Mexico's Pemex hails crude swap with U.S., expects permit this month
(Adds detail from Pemex statement on Salina Cruz refinery)
By David Alire Garcia
MEXICO CITY Aug 14 (Reuters) - A historic crude oil swap between the United States and Mexico is "great news" for both countries, and Mexican national oil company Pemex expects the permit by the end of this month, the head of its commercial arm said on Friday.
Reuters reported earlier on Friday that the Obama administration will allow sales of U.S. crude to Mexico for the first time, marking another milestone in loosening a contentious ban on exporting domestic oil.
Jose Manuel Carrera, chief executive of Pemex's commercial arm, PMI Comercio Internacional, said the crude swap could bring up to 100,000 barrels per day of light U.S. crude to Mexico's refineries, boosting gasoline output, in exchange for Mexican heavy crude.
He said the first U.S. crude imports will likely ramp up from a much lower level and that Mexico could begin receiving the crude shipments later this year.
"This is great news," Carrera said. "It will allow refining in both countries to be more efficient."
The shipments from the United States of light crude will help Pemex's aging refineries, configured to run a lighter crude mix than the country's increasingly heavy crude production, and boost the output of higher-value refined products like gasoline and diesel. U.S. refiners will continue to get Mexican heavy oil, a better match for them than the deluge of light oil coming from Texas and North Dakota.
Carrera emphasized that integrating U.S. light crude into Mexico's refining sector would be gradual. Continuación...