Cost of Mexico's Dos Bocas refinery now near $10 bln, minister says

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Mexico's Energy Minister Rocio Nahle attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

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MEXICO CITY, April 13 (Reuters) - The cost of a Mexican oil refinery under construction in the southern port of Dos Bocas has risen by $900 million to $9.8 billion because of additions to the project, Energy Minister Rocio Nahle said in an interview published on Wednesday.

Nahle told Mexican newspaper El Universal that the increase was due to the addition of an electricity plant for the Olmeca refinery being built for state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), as well as a gas pipeline and an aqueduct.

"These are part of the expansions, that's why we went further. Initially, the refinery was at $8.9 billion and with the expansion of the gas pipeline, aqueduct and combined cycle (plant), we're going to $9.8 billion," she said.

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The Energy Ministry confirmed the report was correct.

Just a month ago, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the refinery would cost $9 billion, speaking from the site of the facility in the eastern state of Veracruz.

The refinery was originally earmarked at $8 billion, though experts estimated the final costs could be $4 billion-$6 billion higher.

Lopez Obrador aims to inaugurate the refinery, which is one of the main public works of his administration, on July 2. It forms a central plank of his drive to make Mexico self-sufficient in gasoline and more energy independent.

A number of energy analysts have voiced skepticism the refinery will be ready to go into operation by July.

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Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Leslie Adler

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