Mexico’s national oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos, is opening its first gas stations in the U.S. with five inaugural stores right here in Texas.
Known as Pemex, the Mexican oil company opened its first gas station at 9722 Park Place Blvd. in Houston on Dec. 3. Four more stations are planned to open in Houston this month.
Although Pemex has a refinery in the Houston suburb of Deer Park, the company reported that the five gas stations are franchised and do not sell their brand of gasoline.
The newly opened Pemex gas station includes a fully stocked convenience store and a “Taco Shack” restaurant.
Pemex officials said Houston was chosen as the launch city due to its high Hispanic population, specifically its Mexican population. If all goes well, the company could expand its franchising opportunities in other markets.
“This pilot program will allow us to judge the impact of the Pemex brand against others and will identify business opportunities as part of our evaluation process to enter other external markets,” Pemex officials said in a statement.
Although all Pemex gas stations in Mexico are full-service, the Texas locations will be self-service. Pemex officials said the gas stations in Texas are being opened as part of Mexico’s energy reforms, which have opened the nation’s energy markets to foreign competition and investment for the first time in more than 70 years.
Observers say the franchise in Texas could be an important test for Pemex as Mexico seeks to open its lucrative gas station market over the next few years.
Starting in 2016, foreign companies will be able to obtain a permit to set up service stations in Mexico where they will be able to sell fuel from any company. Private companies will be able to freely import refined oil products into Mexico in 2017. The Mexican government will remove all price controls on gasoline and diesel in 2018.
Copyright: Houston Business Journal