Pemex Posts 4th-Quarter Loss on Higher Taxes and Lagging Output

Petroleos Mexicanos, Latin America’s largest oil producer, posted a loss for the second consecutive quarter as higher taxes and stagnant output offset higher oil prices.

Pemex’s loss in the fourth quarter widened slightly to 23.8 billion pesos ($1.8 billion) from 23.6 billion pesos in the year-earlier period, the Mexico City-based company said yesterday in a filing to the Mexican stock exchange.

While Pemex tax payments rose 44 percent to 243.5 billion pesos, the Mexican export crude mix price climbed 34 percent to average $104.31 a barrel in the three months ended on Dec. 31. That’s 13 cents below its highest quarterly average reached in the second quarter of 2008. Crude output from the state-owned company fell 1 percent to 2.55 million barrels a day, the lowest level since 1990.

Quarterly revenue rose 23 percent to 420 billion pesos.

Pemex said total debt as of Dec. 31 increased to 783 billion pesos. Pemex refining had a negative margin of $2.64 per processed barrel amid oil prices volatility, the company said.

Pemex is increasing refinery investments by 24 percent to 40 billion pesos this year to improve efficiencies and avoid unscheduled stoppages, Juan Jose Suarez Coppel, chief executive officer of the Mexico City-based company, said in a Dec. 2 presentation.

Falling domestic gasoline production prompted Mexico to boost fuel imports to 678,212 barrels a day last year, the highest since 1990, the earliest data available on the Energy Ministry’s website.

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