Houston A New York business couple is suing a US court to prevent Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) from taking control of a Texas refinery, arguing that the sale would raise US gasoline prices.
Royal Dutch Shell agreed in May to sell its largest stake in the Deer Park refinery for $596 million to long-time partner Pemex. The refinery has a capacity of 302,800 barrels per day and is located in suburban Houston.
The lawsuit, filed last week in US district court in Houston, alleges that the sale will lead to “significantly less competition” in gasoline and a “significant increase” in costs for plaintiffs.
They are asking the court to permanently block the sale or force Pemex to dispose of its property.
The deal has been delayed due to an ongoing review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a national security group that can prevent or impose restrictions on foreign purchases by U.S. companies that began a second 45-day review that halted Pemex’s plans to complete the purchase this year.
Pemex did not respond to requests for comment. Spokesmen for Shell, CFIUS and the Treasury Department declined to comment.
This year, Mexico imported about 60 percent of its fuel needs. President Lopez Obrador has complained that the 28-year joint venture with Shell has not been good for the country, as dividends have not been reinstated.
Aaron Hagley and Andrew Sarcinella, owners of a self-service laundry in Mount Vernon, New York, filed the lawsuit.
Petroleos Mexicanos refined 26% more oil than last year
In October, crude oil refining at six Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) plants grew 26 percent compared to the same period last year, according to information from the Energy Department (Sener).
But in the tenth month of the year, the oil refining of the state-owned company recorded a decline of 6.3 percent compared to September, a fact that occurred after the recovery of production of crude oil derivatives.
Pemex processed 742,391 barrels of crude oil per day, a number that failed to sustain the rebound observed in the ninth month.
Despite the monthly decline, refining appears to be back above 700,000 barrels per day, adding two months at that level, after remaining below that barrier for five months.
As happened on other occasions, the volume of refined crude at the company’s oil facilities is variable, but this time the crude in Tula showed a more pronounced negative behavior.
The plant, located in Hidalgo state, processed 62,776 barrels of crude oil per day in October, a contraction of 51.1 percent compared to September, and a decrease of 43.7 percent compared to October of last year.
The Caderita refinery located in Nuevo Leon didn’t perform its best in the reference period either, processing just 83,827 b/d.
The amount translated into a decrease of 39.9 percent compared to the previous month and 13.7 percent in its annual comparison.
Madero Refinery observed mixed behaviour. In the reference period, it produced 97,976 barrels per day, which is an increase of 11.5 percent compared to September, but a decrease of 5.98 percent compared to October of last year.
In contrast, the Minatitlan plant refined 142,186 barrels per day in October, an increase of 36.5 percent per month and 173.16 percent compared to the tenth month of 2020.
In the reference period, Salamanca processed 123,327 barrels per day, an increase of 4.1 percent per month and 81.3 percent annually.
Salina Cruz refinery refined 232,300 barrels per day of crude in October, an increase of 8.2 percent compared to September and 49.1 percent compared to the same period in 2020.
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