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Mexican gas stations

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Private companies as of last week can own and operate gas stations, as Mexico opens the gasoline retail sector to competition.

Options for investors include opening new outlets, and becoming partners of the operators of existing stations, most of whom are franchisees or lessees of Pemex, the state-owned company, which for 78 years had a monopoly on all aspects of Mexico’s oil business.

Mexico currently has around 12,000 gas stations.

In addition, gas station operators will as of June be able to import gasoline and diesel fuel, in addition to buying from Pemex.

United States-based Gulf Oil LP, the first foreign company to open non Pemex-branded gas stations, plans to have 100 outlets operating by the end of the year, both full-service and self-service.

For its part, Mexico’s biggest Coca-Cola bottler plans to turn more than 200 Pemex outlets into OXXO stations, through arrangements with current operators.

-owned OXXO is Mexico’s biggest chain of mini supermarkets, with more than 13,000 locations, including convenience stores in many gas stations.

The rate of expansion of privately-owned chains of gas stations is likely to increase, with the expiration over time of existing contracts between operators and Pemex.

Environmental and local commercial approvals would be needed for any new outlet.

Mexico in 2014 approved sweeping reforms to the country’s oil-gas sector, including the right of private companies – national and foreign – to develop oil-gas resources.