MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s ubiquitous Pemex gas stations now have competition along the country’s highways and city streets for the first time in nearly eight decades.
Two companies have collectively opened three gas stations under their own brands, breaking one of the state-owned petroleum company’s last monopolies. Opening the retail sector to competition was part of energy reforms passed in 2014.
Mexico’s Hidrosina opened a re-branded Pemex gas station under its own name this week in Mexico City and Mexican company La Gas opened a station in Campeche and another in Merida. Both will sell Pemex gasoline.
“With the collaboration of Pemex we signed an agreement to use a different brand and test the success that may or may not work for the clientele,” said Victor Ruiz Iriarte, director of operations for Grupo Hidrosina.
Hidrosina was founded in 1992, and as a concessionaire has since operated more than 30 gas stations in Mexico City and the rest of the republic under the Pemex name.
“This is the first test we want to do with 20 stations this year and next year in Mexico City,” Ruiz Iriarte added.
U.S.-based Gulf Oil announced it would open its first four gas stations in Mexico between June and July.
Mexico’s oil industry was nationalized in 1938, but recent reforms aim to attract private investment to bolster the country’s falling crude production.