Mexico Unleashes Gas Stations From Pemex

3/31/2016 Wall Street Journal


MEXICO CITY—For the past eight decades, Mexican drivers have had only one choice of filling stations: state oil firm Petróleos Mexicanos. But that is going to change in coming months as the country’s first privately branded gasoline stations open for business.

Starting Friday, Mexico will allow private companies to import gasoline for the first time since the late 1930s, which had since been the exclusive domain of Pemex. The market opening paves the way for the country’s existing 11,400 filling stations—which are all Pemex franchises but independently owned—to link up with another company.

The changes are part of a sweeping 2014 overhaul that ended Mexico’s state monopoly of the energy sector, allowing oil-and-gas firms to explore and produce oil directly. But new oil is still years away, and low prices have sapped some of the initial enthusiasm. That leaves gas stations as a place where drivers can notice the changes first.

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