Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s race to build an oil refinery in record time on land that is alive with mangrove, wild cats, boa constrictors, and several other species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians, has faced obstacles, which has complicated his effort to revive state-oil company Pemex.
Even before President López Obrador took office last December, work had begun to cut down protected woodland on Pemex land on the coast of Tabasco state to make room for the new refinery, which will be located next to the Dos Bocas port.
But in January, oil industry environmental regulator ASEA ruled that the contractor that deforested the land did not have the correct permits to do so. The body issued a fine of around USD $700,000. ASEA says work on the refinery can only go ahead once a full environmental impact assessment is done and approved.
This could delay the refinery project for months or even years, just as the government is trying to boost oil output by giving the state a bigger role in the industry, modernizing refineries and building the new one in Tabasco.
Gustavo Alanis, president of the Mexican Center of Environmental Law advocacy group, said Pemex will run into legal problems if it continues to act in haste over the planned Dos Bocas refinery.
“If they move quickly without paying heed to the laws they need to follow, they’ll become their own worst enemy,” he said.
The government has said it plans to tender for the construction of the USD $8 billion refinery in March and finish building it in three years.
Source: El Universal