The objective of the company, dubbed Olmeca, “is to stop the export of crude oil and transform the raw material in the country to become self-sufficient in gasoline and diesel,” said left-wing president Andrés Manuel López Obrador during the inauguration.

Mexico produces some 1.7 million barrels of oil per day, but most of it is for export. Due to the lack of infrastructure, it is forced to import fuel.

At this stage, the refinery, located in the oil port of Dos Bocas, is carrying out tests and will start operating next year, according to government forecasts.

“It’s already a dream come true (…) as we have planned, we will be able to process 340,000 barrels” of oil per day, said the president.

With a final investment that will be around 12 billion dollars, against the 4 billion dollars initially planned, the government’s objective is to produce 170,000 barrels of gasoline and 120,000 barrels of diesel per day.

“We will keep our word to achieve energy independence,” assured the president.

During his election campaign in 2018, López Obrador promised to reduce fuel prices and maintained a subsidy from excess oil revenues.

However, prices are rising above the dollar per liter and are seen as a factor in inflation, at 7.88% in the first half of June, the highest rate since 2001.

Olmeca’s fuel production will be added to that of the refinery in Deer Park, Texas, bought by the state company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) last January, and which should refine 340,000 barrels of crude per day according to government forecasts.