Pemex to Receive Bids for First Minatitlan Contract Sep.3

Mexico's state oil company Pemex will receive bids on September 3 for a US$156mn contract to build access roads and improve the terrain for the construction of new plants at its Minatitlan refinery in Veracruz state, according to company information.

The contract is the first of six contracts to reconfigure the refinery, which will require a total investment of about US$2bn. Bidding rules went on sale Thursday and are available through August 28. Pemex will open economic bids from qualified companies on October 3. Work is scheduled to start December 8. Foreign companies are allowed to bid on the project, but Mexican companies are thought to be the most likely bidders because they are familiar with the difficult terrain, and because the contract does not require the advanced technology called for in the remaining five contracts.

All six projects will be awarded by year-end so that the work, which is expected to take about 48 months, is completed by late 2007. No single company will be awarded more than one of the six contracts in order to avoid total dependence on one foreign company. Pemex had planned to start seeking bids in late March but delayed the process due to a delay in receiving approval from the finance ministry.

The project calls for the construction of eleven plants, including nine crude processing plants, and aims to improve the quality of fuel, lower emissions and increase production of products with greater added value. The works will increase the refinery's capacity to 350,000b/d from 186,000b/d, and as a result heavy Maya crude will make up 60% of feedstock, up from 32% at present.

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