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Mexico president-elect: $16 billion to boost oil output

In this July 22, 2018 photo, Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador listens to a reporter's question outside his party's headquarters, in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico's president-elect announced a $16 billion investment plan Friday to boost flagging oil production, refinery capacity and electrical generation.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday the country must act "urgently" to reverse a decline that saw crude output drop to 1.88 million barrels per day in the first half of 2018, down from 3.4 million barrels per day in 2005.

Lopez Obrador pledged to increase production by 600,000 barrels per day in two years. He said about $9.5 billion in investment would be made in 2019, with more in ensuing years to upgrade existing refineries, build a new one, and support oil exploration. He said he will also upgrade hydroelectric and power generation plants.

Lopez Obrador, who will take office on Dec. 1, named Octavio Romero, an agronomist, to head the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos.

In announcing the plan, the president-elect added that the office work he has been doing since his victory in the July 1 elections was not his thing.

He said will be going to the Usumacinta river near the Guatemala border to do "field work" and talk to farmers.

"I have to do this field work," Lopez Obrador said. "We are going to plant a million hectares (2.4 million acres) with fruit trees and timber, and I have to go to site."

"I have to talk with the people. The people have good instincts, I need that. If I just stay in my office, I might even turn into a technocrat," he said jokingly.

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