MEXICO CITY, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Mexico's Pemex will partner with France's Air Liquide SA to operate an existing hydrogen plant and build a second one at its Tula refinery, the Mexican state-owned oil company said in a statement on Thursday.
The 20-year joint venture partnership marks the first time Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex as it is better known, has inked a deal to cede some operations of its aging domestic refineries.
The move follows Mexico's 2013 energy market reform which opened the country's state-run energy sector to private producers, allowing Pemex to enter joint-venture partnerships.
Pemex did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.
The Miguel Hidalgo refinery outside the city of Tula in central Hidalgo state is Pemex's second largest with a crude oil processing capacity of 315,000 barrels per day.
Pemex executives have said they are evaluating potentially larger joint ventures aimed at seeking partners who could improve the efficiency of its refineries. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Andrew Hay)