Mexico to stop U.S. West Coast crude oil shipments
Mexican state-owned petroleum monopoly Pemex will stop shipping crude oil to the U.S. West Coast starting in February as the problem-plagued firm seeks to shift the oil to the more profitable U.S. Gulf, European and Asian markets.
Pemex, which ships only about 20,000 barrels per day to the West Coast, cited a shortage of storage facilities at its Salina Cruz refinery/terminal on the Pacific Coast as a major reason for the shift. Salina Cruz also faces a transportation bottleneck from Pemex's main Dos Bocas crude production facilities near the Gulf of Mexico.
“The volume of crude that will no longer be sent to the U.S. West Coast will be sold in other markets where there are better economic alternatives,” a Pemex statement said.
About 88 percent of Pemex's 1.7 million barrels per day of oil exports go to the United States, with 10 percent going to Europe and 2 percent headed to Asia.
Tuesday, Mexican newspaper El Universal released internal Pemex documents showing the oil firm considers the operating conditions at the Salina Cruz refinery/terminal in Oaxaca state and the La Paz facility in Baja California to be so poor that they could present “conditions of risk and extreme uncertainty.” The result could result in the shutdown of the refinery at Salina Cruz and create a shortage of crude oil products on the Mexican Pacific Coast. About 40 percent of Mexico's manufactured gasoline is distributed via 11 Pemex facilities, including Salina Cruz and La Paz, on the Pacific Coast.
Without major upgrades to the two terminals, Mexico could experience a temporary shortages of up to 276,000 barrels per day of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, the paper quoted the head of Pemex's refining subsidiary as saying.
Mexico ranks as the world’s ninth-largest exporter of crude oil by volume.