November 26, 2018 / 9:31 PM / 13 days ago

Crude oil output, exports drop in October for Mexico's Pemex

MEXICO CITY, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Mexican national oil company Pemex’s crude output dipped to 1.76 million barrels per day (bpd) in October, down more than 7 percent compared with the same month last year, according to company data released on Monday.

October crude output marked one of the lowest monthly production levels since 1990, when publicly accessible records begin.

Crude exports also fell in October to reach 1.03 million bpd, down by about a quarter compared with the same month in 2017.

Since September, the ailing Mexican oil giant has only exported its Maya heavy grade to international customers, as it stopped shipping barrels of its lighter Olmeca and Isthmus grades and instead directing those barrels to its domestic refineries for processing.

Pemex officials have said that the extended output slide is due to the natural decline of its major fields as well as budget cuts in recent years that have crimped its exploration and production activities.

President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who takes office on Dec. 1, has pledged to strengthen Pemex, which he argues has been the victim of massive corruption.

He has also sharply criticized a 2013 constitutional energy overhaul championed by outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto which opened the sector to new private producers that are beginning to grow output in the fields they operate.

Those fields were won at competitive oil auctions by a wide range of private and foreign oil companies over the past three years, auctions which the incoming president has pledged to suspend.

Lopez Obrador has pledged to grow Mexican crude production to some 2.6 million bpd by the end of his six-year term in 2024, although he has yet to offer details on his plans. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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