Mexico's Pemex to spend $1 bln to upgrade fleet

MEXICO CITY, Sept 27 Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:22pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Mexico's state oil monopoly Pemex plans to invest more than $1 billion over the next three years to upgrade part of its fleet of ships, company officials said on Thursday, calling it the biggest such overhaul in decades.

Juan Jose Suarez, chief executive of Pemex, told reporters some 130 vessels would be renewed, 81 belonging to the refining division and 51 to the exploration and production divisions.

The company is studying another two for its petrochemicals business, said Jose Manuel Carrera, representative of Pemex's commercial arm (PMI) in Spain, where some of the work is likely to be done.

Pemex may lease some ships, but for others it will sign contracts with shipbuilders in Mexico and abroad. The ships are scheduled to be built between 2013 and 2015.

"What we're seeing is there isn't enough capacity now, we're contracting it out in the rest of the world, depending on the ships, depending on the costs," Suarez said in a news conference.

"We're really talking about the next three years, of very ambitions investment plans, the biggest Pemex has had in decades," he added.

Mexico, the world's No. 7 oil producer, relies on oil revenues to fund about a third of its federal government budget.

It needs to boost oil output after losing nearly a quarter of its capacity between 2004 and 2009 due to the rapid aging of its largest oil fields and a lack of investment in exploration for new deposits.

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