Pemex Aims to Publish Minatitlan Bid Rules Sep.18

Mexico's state oil company Pemex has delayed until September 18 publishing bidding rules for the second of six packages that make up the US$1.6bn reconfiguration of the Lazaro Cardenas refinery at Minatitlan in Veracruz state, a Pemex official told BNamericas.

The company could theoretically publish the rules this Thursday (Sep.11), but September 18 is more likely, Hugo Ojeda, the private secretary for Pemex's department of engineering and project development, said. The company has delayed publishing the rules several times due to "technical problems," Ojeda said.

Pemex originally planned to publish the rules on August 18. The first contract in this second package will be for "integration," and consists of engineering, procurement and construction of services such as electric power, drainage, water treatment, cooling towers and integration between different units. The second contract is for subsequent management of those systems.

Meanwhile, Pemex received 15 offers by the September 3 deadline for a US$156mn contract to build access roads and improve the terrain for the construction of new plants at the refinery, Ojeda said. "It's a lot - we expected less," he said. A total of about 50 companies participated in the bidding through consortiums, Ojeda said, adding that the majority of the offers were from Veracruz-based companies. Pemex has rejected two of the offers for technical reasons and will study the 13 remaining offers until October 3 when it is scheduled to open economic bids. A winner will be announced in early November and work will start in December, Ojeda said.

The second contract is "much more specialized" than the first one, meaning that more foreign companies, are expected to participate. Although the original schedule has been delayed, Pemex still plans to award all six of the Minatitlan contracts by year-end, Ojeda said. The reconfigured refinery is scheduled to be operating by 2007. The project will increase the refinery's current treatment capacity from 186,000 barrels a day (b/d) of crude to 350,000b/d, and processing of heavy Maya crude will increase to 60% from 32% at present.

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