Exclusive: Mexico's Pemex to begin 2021 oil hedge contracting soon - source

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican oil giant Pemex is about to start the process of contracting an oil hedge for 2021, a senior source at the company told Reuters, after the previous two hedges delivered bumper payouts for the highly-indebted company.

Pemex’s hedge is separate and much smaller than the one contracted annually by Mexico’s finance ministry. The government every year buys about $1 billion in financial contracts, the world’s largest oil hedge program, to protect revenues.

Pemex has received about $377.3 million from its 2020 hedge amid falling oil prices and another $369 million from the 2019 hedge, said the senior Pemex official, who was not authorized to talk about the issue and wished not to be named.

“Shortly, work will begin on the 2021 coverage,” said the official, after mentioning that the program had been approved already by the company’s board of directors.

The source said the company had been waiting for oil prices to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on demand before going to market.

The board of Pemex, the world’s most indebted oil company, is chaired by Mexico’s Energy Minister, Rocio Nahle, and also includes the finance and economy ministers, among others.

“Getting (hedging) coverage has been positive. We have been obtaining benefits for two years,” the source added.

Pemex did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The Mexican oil export basket this year averages $34.22 per barrel, according to Pemex figures until the end of October, compared to an average $55.63 in 2019.

On Wednesday, its price was $43.64 per barrel.

For next year, the government foresees an average price of $42 per barrel, according to the 2021 budget.

Pemex exports this year averaged 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), after falling to 908,000 bpd in October, its lowest level of the year.

Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Tom Brown