Mexico City — Mexico state oil company Pemex had a significant production boost in January. However, its output levels are down year on year.
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With a production of 1.929 million b/d in January, output increased by 3% compared with December, but fell 4.5% year on year, the company's production indicators report released late Friday showed.
Pemex said its additional production came from offshore fields, where total output increased to 1.593 million b/d in January, 54,000 b/d more than in December but down 2% from a year ago.
The state company is expected to provide further details on which fields boosted production in the coming days when it updates its institutional database.
However, it said that 40,000 b/d of additional production in January was heavy oil. It is probably higher output from complexes Ku-Maloob-Zaap and Cantarell, two giant heavy oil fields in the Sound of Campeche, which produced 54% of Pemex's production in December.
For 2018, Pemex has the goal of increasing its annual average production to 1.955 million b/d -- a feat it plans to achieve by an aggressive farm-out program.
Pemex's total refined products output recovered in January to 727,800 b/d, up 4.67% from December's levels. However, it was down 31.5% year on year, and 50% compared with five years ago. The company in its production indicators did not say how many barrels it processed.
Of these, the state company produced 187,300 b/d of gasoline, 40,200 b/d of diesel and 162,500 b/d of fuel oil. No breakdown by refinery was provided in the report.
The relatively low output levels showed that Pemex has struggled to increase production at its 330,000 b/d Salina Cruz refinery, Mexico's largest, or that output decreased at its Tula, Salamanca or Cadereyta refineries.
Over 30% of Pemex's refining capacity is down as it carries significant upkeep at its unprofitable 190,000 b/d Madero and 285,000 b/d Minatitlan refineries.
Despite both facilities having crackers, their fuel oil yield increased several times in 2017 to 44% and 36% respectively, according to data from Mexico's energy secretariat, or SENER.
Both refineries are expected to be restarted in March, Carlos Murrieta, Pemex's downstream director, said at a conference in Mexico City in January. Pemex plans to increase crude processing levels closer to 1 million b/d by the second half of 2018.
Overall, 2017 was Pemex's worst refining year since its records begin in the 1990s, having a total utilization rate of 48% across all its six refineries, which have a combined crude processing capacity of 1.6 million b/d.
Pemex sold 764,600 b/d of gasoline in January, down 10.5% from December. This variation is typical as December is Mexico's high driving season as people drive to visit their relatives for the holidays.
Pemex's gas production inched up as well in January, reaching 3.117 Bcf/d, up 35 MMcf/d from December but down 5.45% year on year.
However, its dry gas output increased more significantly reaching 2.45 Bcf/d, up 6% from December, but down 10.2% year on year.