| MEXICO CITY
MEXICO CITY Aug 15 Mexico's state-owned oil
company, Pemex, is poised to abandon a decades-old
devotion to self-sufficiency in crude oil, entering talks with
U.S. companies about importing light crude from its northern
neighbor, where output is booming.
Chief Executive Emilio Lozoya said in an interview late on
Thursday that Pemex was very likely to start importing light
crude from the United States in the next few months, to generate
more value from the Mexico's six domestic refineries.
Lozoya said importing light crude from the United States was
"a very good idea" that Pemex was analyzing, noting that it
could help the company's refining unit boost output of products
it is often forced to import, including gasoline and diesel.
"We are in negotiations with the United States government
and of course U.S. companies," he added, declining to name
specific companies or likely volumes to be imported.
Mexico has very rarely imported crude, most recently in the
late 1990s, instead preferring a stubborn self-sufficiency even
as overall domestic production declined and the country's oil
mix has tilted toward harder-to-refine heavy crudes.
"This makes all the sense in the world," said Luis Miguel
Labardini, an oil analyst with Mexico City-based energy
consultancy Marcos y Asociados, adding crude imports from the
U.S. would mark a paradigm shift for the Mexican oil company.
"There has been a very big prejudice within Pemex to import
crude," he said, pointing to an opportunity for Pemex given
booming light crude output in the United States, particularly in
the Eagle Ford Formation in Texas.
Analysts have said that light crude imports from the United
States could increase gradually to 200,000 barrels per day over
the course of the next year.
Pemex's six domestic plants are expected to refine an
average of 1.25 million barrels per day (bpd) this year, or
about 20 percent below their combined capacity of 1.58 million
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Noe Torres; Editing by
Simon Gardner and Steve Orlofsky)