The president’s Mayan Train project isn’t likely ever to be finished, a bank analyst said.
Of all the high-profile infrastructure projects spearheaded by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the trans-isthmus railway appears the likeliest to actually go ahead, according to Barclays’ head of economic research for Latin America, Marco Oviedo.
“According to what they tell us, the isthmus is the most interesting project,” he said, referring other proposed rail corridor, which would connect the Pacific and Atlantic oceans across the Tehuantepec Isthmus.
Oviedo, speaking to reporters in Mexico City on Tuesday, said the Tren Maya rail project faced problems and would likely only be completed in specific sections, being viable only in “some parts, not others.”
The analyst further noted that AMLO’s Santa Lucia airport project “has many problems,” several of which emerged in the months following the highly controversial cancelation of the Mexico City international airport project in Texcoco last October.
Asked about the planned construction of the Dos Bocas refinery in Tabasco state, Oviedo stated bluntly, “From my point of view, the refinery isn’t going to happen.”
“It would need to be a smaller refinery or a less complex one, which is not the idea, because the idea is to process heavy crude and there just isn’t the time,” he said. “No one builds a refinery in three years.”
“But maybe the solution isn’t with refining, but rather with storage capacity,” said Oviedo, noting that Mexico has only three days of gasoline in reserve, compared with the 60-day strategic gasoline reserve in the U.S.
“So, perhaps, what needs to be built are storage facilities in order to reduce this vulnerability the country has to that [particular] kind of fuel,” said Oviedo.
Regardless of what solution they ultimately turn to, Oviedo said: “In the end they’re not going to do [Dos Bocas]. It’s like saying that Pemex is going to build a space station, but how? And why?”
Oviedo suggested that the best way to reactivate investment in infrastructure would be through a “broader” program of projects that include the construction of hospitals and roads, or the rehabilitation of refineries that already exist in the country.