In September 2015, monthly US crude oil imports from Mexico totalled 600 000 bpd, the lowest level since 1990, and a decrease of about 50% since January 2011. Meanwhile, Mexico’s exports of heavy crude oil to Asia and light crude oil to Europe rose, according to data from Mexico’s national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex).
Most of Mexico’s exports are of heavy crude oil, which Pemex defines as crude oil with an API gravity equal to or below 27 degrees. Heavy crude oil volumes sent to US Gulf Coast (Petroleum Administration for Defense District 3) refineries have fallen as new infrastructure has allowed greater volumes of Western Canadian Select heavy crude oil to reach PADD 3 refineries. In addition, production of Maya crude oil from the offshore Cantarell field, traditionally Mexico’s largest oilfield, has decreased significantly. As Mexican heavy crude oil exports to the US have decreased, increasing volumes have been sold to Asian markets, especially India, and to a lesser extent South Korea and Japan. Greater volumes of heavy crude oil have been processed in Mexico’s domestic refineries, partially offsetting a decline in processed volumes of lighter domestic crude types.
A drop in Mexican exports of light crude oil (API gravity above 38 degrees) to the US has been largely offset by increased light crude exports to Europe, especially Spain. Smaller volumes of Mexico’s light crude oil have been exported to European countries such as Italy, France, and the Netherlands.
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