Pemex Pumps Up 2003 Investments

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Mexico's state oil company Pemex invested a total of 130bn pesos (US$11.6bn) in 2003, more than double the yearly average over the past decade, Pemex said in a statement released Friday.

Of the total, more than 75% went on operations by the company's E&P unit, Pemex Exploración y Producción. Crude production increased 12%, or by 359,000 barrels in 2003 from 2002, bringing in an increase in revenues of over US$3.2bn last year. During the first three years of the current Vicente Fox administration, Pemex has made improvements in its volumes and finances as a result of organizational restructuring and a change in company focus, according to the company's CEO Raúl Muñoz Leos.

Pemex has a portfolio of 95 E&P projects worth over US$160bn, including ones to increase reserves replacement from 21% in 2000 to 75% in 2006 and 100% in 2010. Last year 41 new crude and gas fields were discovered, raising reserves replacement to 45% with respect to output, from an annual average of 26% over the last decade. In 2003 work restarted on the onshore Chicontepec basin in Veracruz and Puebla states, which potentially has over 18 billion barrels of oil equivalent, 37% of the country's total reserves. On Mexico's part of the offshore Gulf of Mexico continental platform, 817 explorations detected 172 probable developments which Pemex currently does not have the technology to develop.

Natural gas production fell 7.7% between 1998 and 2002 because the company did not increase output from its Cantarell field, though last year production increased 1.7% from 2002 to 500 million cubic feet a day.

As for refining, gasoline production improved as a result of reconfiguration work at four refineries, which allowed the company to reduce imports to 54,000 barrels a day (b/d), down 60% from 2002. Production of high-value light distillates rose 13% to 813,000b/d in 2003 from the previous year. Total crude refining capacity increased 3.3% last year.

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