By KELIN DILLON
While Mexico’s contentious Dos Bocas oil refinery in Tabasco was initially approved for an $8.9 billion budget at the start of its development, spending on the controversial megaproject has far surpassed the government’s initial funding allocation in the years since. Now, according to information from state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) obtained by Mexican daily newspaper El Universal, the Mexican government has promised to inject another 47.2 billion pesos into the project across 2023.
Dos Bocas originally received 46.2 billion pesos in the construction budget for the year 2019, 45.5 billion pesos in 2020, 113.7 billion pesos in 2021 and 60.9 billion pesos in 2022, with an additional 47.2 billion pesos now allotted to the project for 2023.
With the new funding sourced from the Mexican Secretariat of Energy (Sener) approved by Pemex’s Board of Directors as of Jan. 23, the total spending on Dos Bocas has reportedly exceeded $15.5 billion to date – almost double its original price tag.
Additional information from the Pemex meeting revealed that the new funding push was made in order to help the project obtain “the funds needed for the amount of resources authorized for the completed development of the refinery’s complex and its operations, depending on the availability of financial support from the government that will be received in the year 2023 and, in its case, the years after.”
According to additional investigation into the funding by El Universal, Pemex’s top brass reportedly knew about the budget increase as early as Dec. 29, 2022.
Though the refinery was initially scheduled for completion in July 2022, continued issues have pushed the construction’s half-capacity inauguration to what Secretary of Energy Rocío Nahle says will be July 2023, while the project’s full capacity will be purportedly reached by Sept. 15 of the same year.
The government has likewise touted the refinery’s purported ability to process around 340,000 barrels of crude oil per day in an attempt to “increase the production capacity of the National Refining System,” which could increase Mexico’s internal gasoline and diesel supply by an estimated 290,000 barrels per day and reduce the nation’s reliance on imported fuels.
With that being said, the Mexican government’s doubled-down commitment to crude oil, which is oft-referred to as “the dirtiest oil on earth,” through the construction of the Dos Bocas refinery has caught flack from environmental experts, economic specialists, and Mexico’s key international trade partners alike.