MEXICO CITY, Aug 16 (Reuters) - Mexico’s Madero refinery has not been able to fully restart operations since it was halted in December due to planned maintenance, the chief executive of state-run Pemex said, citing technical problems at the facility.
Pemex’s domestic refineries have been operating this year at 40 percent of their total capacity of 1.65 million barrels per day (bpd) amid outages, maintenance work and low profitability at some facilities.
The Madero refinery, located in northeastern Tamaulipas state, is the smallest of Pemex’s six refineries with crude processing capacity of 190,000 bpd.
It was scheduled to resume operations in January, but its full restart has been postponed several times. It has operated partially for brief periods during the year as the company says it is not profitable to significantly increase crude processing.
Pemex CEO Carlos Trevino said late on Wednesday operational and technical problems, as well as lack of capital, were affecting Madero and also the 285,000-bpd Minatitlan refinery. Not all maintenance projects at the plants have been completed on time, he added.
“We should have restarted (the Madero refinery) almost three months ago,” Trevino said in an interview with local broadcaster ADN40.
About the status of Minatitlan, in the eastern Gulf coast state of Veracruz, Trevino said it restarted a couple of weeks ago. He did not elaborate on the reasons or duration of the stoppage.
Pemex has also postponed in recent months its goal of processing more than 850,000 bpd of crude at its domestic refineries, which in some cases were also affected by storms and earthquakes last year. Trevino said that the processing figure could be surpassed by the end of the year.
As Pemex limits its domestic fuel production due to outages and financial reasons, the company’s imports of gasoline, diesel and other refined products have continued unabated.
Pemex data shows total fuel imports averaged 931,600 bpd in the first half of the year, almost unchanged from 2017. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez Writing by Marianna Parraga; Editing by Tom Brown)