Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday estimated the country will be able to stop importing gasoline by 2023 after improving its own capacity to refine crude oil.
In the past two years, his government has earmarked about 20 billion pesos (848 million U.S. dollars) to modernize the country’s six existing refineries to raise output, he said at his daily press conference.
“We are going to stop buying gasoline abroad, we are going to refine all the crude oil in Mexico. We are going to achieve that by 2023, because we are going to increase the capacity of the current refineries, we are investing in that,” said Lopez Obrador.
The government is also building a new refinery in Dos Bocas, in southeast Tabasco state, and boosting the refining capacity at La Cangrejera, a refinery in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz that has been idle.
The move aims to save money and avoid dealing with the fluctuations in the price of fuels on the international market. Prices have been erratic in recent months due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and imbalances in the oil market.
Despite being a leading producer of crude, Mexico imports much of its domestic gasoline needs due to a lack of refining capacity at state oil firm Pemex.