MEXICO CITY, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex is seeking private partners to improve margins at its refineries and logistical services, a top company executive said on Wednesday.
Alejandro Martinez, head of the newly created Industrial Transformation division, which groups together much of the company’s activities beyond exploration and production of crude oil, said Pemex is evaluating the monetization of existing assets by selling them and then leasing them back.
Pemex, like all oil companies, is grappling with a severe cash crunch due to a more than 70 percent decline in crude prices since 2014.
Speaking at an energy forum, Martinez specifically pointed to projects covering waste water treatment, hydrogen supply, nitrogen separation and crude conditioning as areas in which the company will seek out new private partners.
“In the past, (Pemex) would do all of these activities, but today there’s an opportunity for private Mexican or international companies to participate,” Martinez said.
The executive also cited other logistical sale and lease-back areas such as Pemex’s oil and other multi-use pipelines as well as its processing terminals.
He did not specify how soon companies would be able to bid on the partnerships or which projects would be first in line.
“We have competitors practically at our doorstep,” Martinez said, referring to the implementation of a sweeping energy reform in Mexico finalized in 2014 that ended Pemex’s decades-long monopoly on a wide range of oil sector activities.
Martinez added that Pemex will only take a minority stake in its new co-generation power generation plants “as a sign to the market that we are opening up” and that the company has the next two years to cement the new partnerships.
In 2018, Mexico’s retail fuel sector will be fully open to refined product imports from private or foreign companies and will no longer feature government-set prices. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Leslie Adler)