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Mexico launches new oil refinery, denies solar permits

MEXICO CITY (AP) – The office of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Friday that the new Gulf coast oil refinery he ordered built is “a dream come true”.

López Obrador “inaugurated” the partially finished Olmeca oil refinery in Dos Bocas, a city in his home state of Tabasco. He bragged that his government had decided to ignore “the siren calls… that the oil era was over”.

His administration has been so committed to oil – and so opposed to private renewable energy schemes – that on Friday it also denied a request by German carmaker Audi to build a solar energy facility at one of its factories.

The refinery project, when finished, is expected to cost as much as USD12 billion, well above original estimates of USD9 billion.

In 2021, Mexico agreed to buy Shell’s 50-per-cent share in the jointly owned Deer Park refinery near Houston, Texas for about USD600 million. The two refineries would have similar capacities, leading to questions about the much larger investment in building a new refinery.

The new refinery is part of López Obrador’s startegy of making Mexico self-sufficient in gasoline, which it has long imported.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador . PHOTO: AP