UPDATE 1-Mexico's Pemex says Minatitlan expansion ready end-Aug
* Gasoline capacity will increase by 47,300 bpd
* Opening of long-delayed project was postponed from March
* Mexico aims to reduce gasoline imports (Recasts, updates with document details)
MEXICO CITY, June 20 (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex said the expansion of the Minatitlan refinery will now be ready by the end of August, providing the first firm target for the completion of the long-delayed project.
The project to increase capacity at 185,000 barrel-per-day refinery in the Gulf of Mexico state of Veracruz was originally supposed to be finished in late March.
But a document obtained by Reuters on Monday said it will not start operations by the end of the summer, adding 47,300 barrels per day (bpd) of gasoline production.
Pemex [PEMEX.UL] had said in the past Minatitlan's new facilities would increase gasoline output by 57,000 bpd.
Currently Mexico, a major oil producer, imports around 40 percent of its gasoline because of a lack of in-country refining capacity. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ FACTBOX on Mexico refining [ID:nN09229970] ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
The expansion plan, which began back in 2003, aimed to bring the refinery up to 350,000 bpd capacity.
Parts of the renovated plant are already operating, producing an additional 34,000 barrels per day of diesel, the document said.
In addition to the gas and diesel, Minatitlan will reduce fuel oil output from 65,000 to 27,700 bpd.
Pemex's CEO said at a conference this month that Mexico aims to reduce gasoline imports by 8 percent between 2012 and 2016 Pemex. [ID:nN09152234]
The company plans to build a new oil refinery in Tula, north of Mexico City but wants to avoid the setbacks seen at Minatitlan due to poor supervision by Pemex and the splitting of the expansion into multiple packages.
Pemex has said it will carry out more detailed engineering work before starting construction at Tula. (Additional reporting and writing by Mica Rosenberg;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
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