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Mexico’s Petróleos Mexicanos’ (Pemex) difficult year has been made harder as workers struggle with a coronavirus outbreak that has hit the state oil company particularly hard.
On Wednesday, the company said 77 employees had died of the coronavirus. A total of 228 Pemex employees and family members, including retirees, have so far lost their lives to the pandemic, whose epicenter has now moved to Latin America.
Outbreaks have reportedly been acute on some offshore oil and gas platforms, which have remained manned through the pandemic, even as much of the rest of the economy, including mining and construction, was shut down to the virus.
Indeed, despite coronavirus restrictions, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration has bucked the trend of cutting back given the low-price environment and has pushed ahead on plans to grow production.
Mexico actually increased its rig count in April to 46 active rigs, compared to 44 in March and 35 in April 2019.
Mexico’s government in April also threw its backing behind Pemex by agreeing to measures including a fiscal relief decree freeing up $6.5 billion this year.
Executives at Pemex said they have now achieved their goal of stabilizing years of declines in oil production and the company is “on a path of production growth and increasing the crude oil processing levels of our refineries.” They also claimed that production costs at the new priority fields are below $5/bbl.
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