Speaking from Ciudad del Carmen, a Gulf coast city 50 miles (85 kilometers) from an oil field that sustained Mexican public finances for decades, Lopez Obrador said the goal is for Petroleos Mexicanos to raise crude output to 2.4 million barrels per day, from the current 1.65 million barrels per day.
"We are going to invest where we know there's petroleum and where it costs us less to extract it," he told a jubilant crowd of oil workers. Lopez Obrador previously announced plans to invest 75 billion pesos ($3.65 billion) of savings from a government austerity program into Pemex.
The company has struggled to come up with funds in recent years amid mounting pension obligations, high tax rates, rampant fuel theft and inefficiencies. The president shared an anecdote about once chatting with a man on a plane to Ciudad del Carmen who was delivering a $1 million watch to a customer in the city, suggesting that the watch was a symbol of corruption and theft in the oil industry. "This is why the country is sinking," he said, vowing to root out pilfering of the state entity.
Lopez Obrador described his plan to "rescue" the oil industry as "realistic" and reiterated a pledge to move Pemex's headquarters from the capital to Ciudad del Carmen.