January 18, 2021 [BN Americas] – After scrambling last year to quickly expand storage capacity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexican oil and gas giant Pemex is furthering plans to store 3Mb (million barrels) of crude oil inside refurbished salt deposits in Veracruz state.
Logistics subsidiary Pemex Logística submitted the project for environmental approval in December, according to information from the country’s security, energy and environment regulator (Asea).
It would involve the creation of two caverns in the Ixhuatlán municipality to store maya and itsmo crude, each with space for 1.5Mb. In total, they would occupy an area of 2ha.
No further details were disclosed about the project.
As of April 2020, Mexico had capacity to store 11Mb of crude. That same year Pemex saw its capacity strained as fuel demand plummeted due to the pandemic and stocks began to accumulate in the global oil industry.
At the time, Pemex subsidiary Transformación Industrial said it had plans to increase capacity by using refurbished salt caverns in Nuevo León state and Veracruz after it successfully rented salt domes in 2017 from chemical provider Cydsa to store excess LPG.
The firm also briefly used depleted wells to store excess production.
Internationally, salt deposits have often been used to store crude as they are viewed as a low-cost option for long-term storage. The US uses this method as part of its Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
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