Aug. 17–Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said during his campaign that he would halt gasoline and diesel imports from the United States and other countries by 2021, something he reiterated upon winning Mexico’s presidential election in a landslide last month.
It was in response to a steep spike in Mexican fuel prices that caused widespread protests and in keeping with Lopez Obrador’s campaign platform of national development, which calls for boosting the country’s domestic oil and gas exploration, building new oil refineries and increasing capacity at existing ones.
Exports of refined petroleum products to Mexico represent a substantial amount of business for the Port of Brownsville, which handles Mexico-bound hydrocarbons, though port Director Eduardo Campirano said nobody is freaking out yet.
In fact, during industry meetings last month in Mexico City, the talk was about growing business rather than the president-elect’s comments on imports.
“Right now it doesn’t seem to have impacted any activity,” Campirano said. “It’s business as usual. Even today, Mexico is still ahead of last year as it relates to the refined product market.
“Things are moving. We’ve got a lot of our liquid terminal operators, primarily Transmontaigne and Bluewing, building new storage tanks, which is good. We’ve got others looking at the same thing. We’re progressing on liquid cargo dock No. 6. … That’s obviously important because it plays into the refined product market here at the port.”
He said Mexico’s reliance on imports will continue until that country can produce enough oil and refining capacity on its own to fill the void, which could take much longer than Lopez Obrador anticipates.
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