Deer Park Refinery: Texas complex to be wholly owned by the Mexican government

27/05/2021

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced on Monday that the state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) finalized the purchase of the Deer Park refinery, which is located in Houston, Texas. The Deer Park refinery was a joint property between the multinational oil company Shell and Pemex: each company owned 50% of the complex.

"Pemex bought the shares of the Deer Park refinery in Houston from Shell. It bought 50% of the shares because the other 50% already belonged to Pemex," said López Obrador in a video posted on his social networks. According to the Mexican president, 50% of the shares of the Deer Park refinery had a cost of US$ 600 million, around MX$ 12 billion.

"No (credit) was used (for the purchase), not debt, but from savings for not allowing corruption," said López Obrador.

For her part, Rocío Nahle, head of Mexico's Energy Secretariat, stated in an interview with the Aristegui program that the purchase has already been finalized with Shell, so now the approval of the US Department of Energy is needed to formalize the acquisition. Nahle assured that this does not represent any problem because there are good relations with the US and because it does not represent a danger for the national security of the country led by Joe Biden.

"It is not a nuclear plant (and therefore there is no danger to security)", besides Mexico "is not a country that has problems with the United States", therefore the opinion of the Department of Energy should come to fruition, according to the Mexican official.

On the Deer Park refinery

Deer Park does not only cover the refinery

Deer Park covers an area of 2,300 acres (or more than 9 million square meters). Two main complexes can be found throughout the site: the refinery and a petrochemical plant. Mexico's purchase, Nahle reported, includes only the refinery. The petrochemical complex will remain the property of Shell.

Pemex has been in Deer Park for almost 30 years

The refinery in Deer Park as a joint venture was formed in 1993 between Pemex (50% of the shares) and Shell (remaining 50%), according to the multinational oil company's website. Since then, explained Rocío Nahle, Mexico invested resources in the complex to process part of the country's Mayan crude, which is usually heavy oil.

Refining capacity

According to López Obrador, the refinery in Deer Park has the capacity to process 340,000 barrels of oil per day, which will produce fuels such as gasoline or diesel. This refining capacity is the same as that of the Dos Bocas refinery, located in Tabasco, a state in southeastern Mexico. According to Pemex's 2021-2025 business plan, which was published in March 2021, the Dos Bocas refinery project would be completed in 2023.

What does the Deer Park refinery include?

On its website, Shell indicates that the Deer Park refinery includes five units and processing facilities: a distillation unit; a fluidized catalytic cracking unit; a selective hydrocracking unit; a fourth delayed coking unit; and finally the gasoline catalytic hydrotreating unit.

Prior to the purchase

Until before the purchase agreement reached between Pemex and Shell, the refinery's legal name was Deer Park Refining L.P., which processes mostly sour crude oil from South America, Africa, the United States, and other places. Mexico imports more than half of the crude oil processed, according to the multinational oil company.

By Mexicanist