Building a refinery in Mexico makes sense to reduce imports, but only if the private sector makes that refinery. If that doesn't happen, it would be better not to build it, because Pemex is going to divert resources from its real business, which is removing oil [from the Earth], to a bad business, which is refining. That's why, when the reform failed, it was preferable to not build a refinery.
Furthermore, it would be better to search for some refinery in the world that is underused and buy it, totally or partially, so as to avoid the construction costs and reduce our dollar problem. Once we imported gas made at a Pemex refinery, even if it was outside of the country, the dollars we require would be only a small fraction of what we pay today. And with the global economic crisis, finding a good deal on the world petroleum market is assured.
But instead of doing that, which would be economically reasonable, we're going to build a refinery in Mexico, which will be ready, if we're lucky, inside of six years with an investment of 10 billion dollars. They say it will be less time and less money, but every architect also says that when they remodel a house, and they are always wrong.
I don't mean to say that it makes no sense to build the refinery, because whatever the case we will consume what it produces, but we need to be clear that this won't be the business of the century. It won't be very important, not economically, nor financially, not even in terms of energy.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Macario Schettino explains his skepticism of the refinery to be built in Mexico, and offers a creative alternative: