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Mexican government unveils winners for new oil refinery work

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Lopez Obrador this year threw out bids for it by engineering groups as too expensive, handing oversight of the project to cash-strapped state oil firm Pemex.

[MEXICO CITY] Mexico's government on Friday unveiled the winners of contracts to build and develop an ambitious new oil refinery, which include Samsung Engineering and KBR.

The US$8 billion refinery planned in the southern port of Dos Bocas is one of the flagship infrastructure projects of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who wants to make Mexico more self-sufficient and wean it off gasoline imports.

Lopez Obrador this year threw out bids for it by engineering groups as too expensive, handing oversight of the project to cash-strapped state oil firm Pemex.

Many financial analysts have questioned the wisdom of the refinery, arguing it makes more sense to import fuel.

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However, the government is adamant it must go ahead.

A block of work that includes the coking plant for what would be Mexico's biggest refinery was won by Fluor Enterprises and ICA Fluor, a tie-up between Mexico's ICA and Fluor Corp, the energy ministry said in a statement.

Samsung Engineering and Asociados Constructores DBNR jointly won two blocks for work including the hydrodesulfurisation plant. Meanwhile KBR and Mexican construction firm Grupo Hosto won two others for work such as the gas generator plant, among others.

A contractual bundle for the site's product storage facilities will be tendered next year, the ministry said.

The refinery in the president's home state of Tabasco is scheduled to process 340,000 barrels per day of Mexico's flagship grade, Maya heavy crude, and to be completed by 2022.

REUTERS