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Earthquake Takes Mexico's Largest Refinery Offline

Julianne Geiger

Mexico's largest oil refinery, the Salina Cruz refinery, is offline after a fire broke out in the refinery following a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in the area.

 

Pemex, Mexico's state-run oil company, said that the fire was immediately extinguished.

The refinery has an installed capacity of 330,000 barrels of crude oil per day but hasn't been producing that much for quite some time.

 

The earthquake that struck in Southeast Oaxaca left one dead and sent shockwaves that could be felt nearly 500 miles away.

 

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said, "Strategic installations didn't suffer any damage, that is to say, ports, airports, refineries, hydroelectric plants, everything is in a good condition". The shutdown was described as a precautionary measure.

 

Many of Mexico's oil refineries have been offline intermittently over the past few years due to extended maintenance or operational problems due to poor condition. The Salina Cruz refinery has been offline multiple times in the past few years, including for a previous fire and earthquake in 2017.

 

Pemex isn't known for its refinery prowess, with its refineries running near 40% capacity according to the EIA, which has decreased the amount of crude oil that the country has imported for five years in a row, dipping from 1.2 million barrels per day in 2013 to just 600,000 barrels per day in 2018.

 

Despite the pandemic, Mexico is still moving forward with a massive $8 billion oil refinery, the likes of which have been controversial even before the coronavirus pandemic. Some say the 340,000 barrel per day refinery could cost upwards of $10 or even $12 billion.

 

The refinery, if successfully built, would allow Mexico to decrease the amount of refined products it imports from the United States.

 

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com 

 

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