HOUSTON (ICIS)--Pemex received its first overseas shipment of ethane over the weekend, which should help the producer address a shortage of the feedstock, a source close to the Mexican state producer said on Wednesday.
The ship, the Bow Guardian, arrived at Pajaritos with 4,200 tonnes of ethane, the source said. A second shipment is scheduled for February.
These are spot shipments, according to the source. If all goes well, Pemex could pursue a medium- to long-term contract.
Pemex was able to receive overseas ethane shipments after it modified an ethylene tank at Pajaritos.
The decline in oil production in Mexico has caused a shortage of ethane in the country.
Mexico relies on ethane as a feedstock for all of its crackers. Because of the shortage, Pemex has run its crackers at rates well below capacity.
Mexico's other ethylene producer, Braskem Idesa, has been able to secure enough ethane for its cracker because of a long-term supply agreement with Pemex.
Pemex has been honouring the terms of the agreement even as its own crackers have struggled to obtain enough feedstock.
The ethane imports should allow Pemex to run its crackers at rates of 50-70%, said Jose Uriegas, CEO of Grupo Idesa. He made his comments during a trade conference in November.
Additional reporting by George Martin