Three Mexico refineries to undergo maintenance by December: Pemex

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Three out of Pemex’s six refineries will undergo maintenance work in the coming months, Carlos Murrieta, the director of the Mexican oil giant’s refining unit said on Friday.

Mexico’s refining network has been working well below capacity after a big fire in June forced Pemex to halt its largest refinery of Salina Cruz for six weeks, increasing the need for fuel imports.

“We are doing one of the most important programs to revamp our plants,” the head of Pemex Industrial Transformation told Reuters in an interview. The program includes at least nine maintenance projects this year.

The 330,000-barrel-per day Salina Cruz refinery, which is currently producing some 50,000 bpd of finished products after resuming operations last month, is expected to double its crude processing to 220,000 bpd next week, Murrieta said.

He added that the Cadereyta refinery in northern Mexico is also under maintenance, but he did not elaborate further.

Salina Cruz’s restart protocol has taken longer than planned due to operational issues after the fire. But Pemex completed major maintenance work during the stoppage.

Mexico’s 1.63-million-bpd refining network is expected to process 1 million-1.1 million bpd of crude by the end of the year, once the maintenance work is completed, he added.

Reporting by Marianna Parraga and Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Sandra Maler and Diane Craft