August 21, 2009 / 7:54 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Mexico oil output falls 7.8 pct yr/yr in July -Pemex

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MEXICO CITY, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Mexican oil output fell 7.8 percent in July compared to the same month a year ago as the its efforts to replace production capacity lost at the Cantarell field continued to lag the giant’s natural decline.

State oil monopoly Pemex said on Friday it produced 2.561 million barrels per day of crude oil in July, an increase on June of 42,500 bpd. Output in June was affected by planned maintenance at its two largest oil fields, the Cantarell and Ku Maloob Zaap offshore deposits.

Pemex expects to raise oil production to 2.65 million bpd by the end of the year by adding new wells at its Chicontepec project. But analysts are skeptical that the company has mastered the technical and logistical challenges of developing the unconventional crude there.

Falling oil production poses a big threat to the Mexican government’s finances, which rely on oil taxes to fund nearly 40 percent of the federal budget.

Debt-rating agencies have warned Mexico it must reduce its fiscal reliance on the declining oil industry or face cuts in its bond ratings.

Mexico exported 1.307 million bpd in July, down from 1.377 million bpd a year earlier. Gasoline imports totaled 384,400 bpd, down from 404,500 bpd a year ago. (Reporting by Robert Campbell; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

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