The administration of the Olmeca refinery, still under construction, this week requested nearly 6.5 billion dollars more from the government to cover this year works not initially contemplated, higher plant costs and the start-up of units, according to a document seen by Reuters and two knowledgeable sources.
The board of directors of the state oil company Pemex approved this week – with a majority but not unanimous vote – asking the Government for 5.618 million dollars to continue with the works and 853 million dollars for the start-up of the Olmeca refinery, known as Dos Bocas, according to the document and the sources.
The amount is in addition to the 8.9 billion dollars that were approved by the council in 2020, but which increased without the express authorization of that authority.
Reuters reported in late April that the budget had been exhausted and more resources had been requested.
The decision to request more resources comes after months of internal discussions between the Ministry of Energy, in charge of the project, the Ministry of Finance, and Pemex, which will take over the administration of the new refinery, which will be added to the other seven that it has of the oil company
Pemex, the energy ministry and the finance ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
Although President Andrés Manuel López Obrador admitted in June that Dos Bocas would cost much more than the initially approved $8.9 billion and estimated the cost at between $11 billion and $12 billion, the request for additional funds had not materialized.
The new official estimated cost of the refinery, one of the president’s most emblematic projects and with which he seeks to achieve his goal of making Mexico self-sufficient in fuel production, has risen to 14.605 million dollars , according to the document and sources. .
But it could rise even more by adding taxes that have not yet been accounted for, as well as escalations, contingencies and other items.
The cost of the refinery, named Olmeca, rose due to higher prices in the plants that will integrate it, plus 1,825 million dollars of “associated works”, 782 million dollars for cogeneration plants and 853 million dollars for start-up, according to the document, a report presented to Pemex’s board of directors this week.
So far, Dos Bocas has received $10.29 billion in total as of June 2022 and since the project started in 2019, according to the document.
López Obrador inaugurated the first phase of the work on July 1, which has been harshly criticized by opponents and specialists in the energy sector, who consider that it will not produce fuel in the short term, although the government has said it will do so from 2023.