Mexico's president criticizes Shell-Pemex joint venture in Texas refinery

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A logo of Mexican state oil firm Pemex is pictured during a visit by Mexico's president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, at Cadereyta refinery, in Cadereyta, on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico August 27, 2020. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

MEXICO CITY, May 6 (Reuters) - Mexico's president on Thursday criticized the partnership between state oil company Pemex (PEMX.UL) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) in a Texas refinery, saying it has not yielded any benefits for Mexico.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an energy nationalist who has sought to revive the fortunes of the deeply-indebted Pemex, said that no profits have been repatriated to Pemex since the partnership with Shell was established in 1993 as they have all been re-invested.

"We are addressing this issue," Lopez Obrador said at his daily press conference when he was asked about the Deer Park refining joint venture in Texas, but did not elaborate on the matter.

"Since it was built, there have been no benefits for Mexico, barely the processing of Mexican crude," he said.

Pemex sells Maya heavy crude to Deer Park, which has a capacity to process up to 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil, through a long-term supply contract.

Pemex and Shell agreed in 2018 to extend the term of the Maya contract, halving the supply of more than 150,000 bpd and negotiating a fixed price starting in 2023, according to local media reports.

Shell declined to comment and Pemex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Operated by Shell, Deer Park includes a petrochemical complex and also refines crude from Africa, South America and the United States. Part of the investment in the facility has gone to upgrade it and improve its flexibility for crude processing.

For years, Deer Park has been seen as the most profitable of Pemex's refineries. The state oil company has faced losses in its domestic refining business, made up of six plants in Mexico and a seventh under construction.

Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and Marianna Parraga; Editing by Drazen Jorgic and Diane Craft

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