January 29, 2019 / 10:25 PM / 3 months ago

Mexico's Pemex to oversee 'restricted auction' for new refinery

MEXICO CITY, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Mexican national oil company Pemex will oversee the process to pick the company that will build a new multibillion-dollar oil refinery in the southern Gulf Coast state of Tabasco, Energy Minister Rocio Nahle said on Tuesday.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to fast-track the construction of the new refinery in Dos Bocas, Tabasco, to boost lagging domestic production of gasoline and diesel, and wean the country from a growing dependence on imported fuels.

"It will be a restricted auction because we're going to invite serious, specialized companies," Nahle said at an energy conference in Mexico City.

The minister, who also serves as president of the Pemex board of directors, added that the invitation-only process will allow the government to prohibit the participation of international firms that have "histories of corruption."

Nahle did not say when the Pemex auction would be conducted, or which firms were being considered.

Pemex's recently approved 2019 budget allocates almost $2.5 billion for the refinery, which aims to be able to process 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) of heavy crude.

Lopez Obrador has said that the total price tag for the facility will be approximately $8 billion, and would mark Pemex's seventh domestic oil refinery.

The company also has a 50 percent stake in the Deer Park refinery in Texas operated by partner Royal Dutch Shell. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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