Mexico's largest oil refinery opens to fanfare, not yet operational

By Adriana Barrera

PARAISO, Mexico (Reuters) -Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador formally opened a major new oil refinery on Friday, a signature project for the leftist leader who argues it will help the country cut a longstanding dependence on foreign gasoline and diesel supplies.

The Olmeca refinery owned and operated by state-run oil company Pemex is billions of dollars over budget and still under construction, but that did not stop Lopez Obrador from headlining a splashy inauguration ceremony at the facility built just off the Gulf coast port of Dos Bocas in his home state of Tabasco.

In a speech, Lopez Obrador dismissed critics who argue that fossil fuels should no longer be part of Mexico's energy future, while also criticizing past governments for failing to build a new refinery in nearly four decades.

"During all this time, they bet on selling crude oil and then buying gasoline, diesel and other fuels in foreign lands," said Lopez Obrador.