More Mexican fuel stations leave Pemex brand

State-owned Pemex saw 14pc of its retail fuel stations move to other brands in 2018, although it continues to supply gasoline and diesel to most of Mexico's roughly 12,500 retail stations.

Pemex — which was the country's only retail fuel brand before its 2014 energy reform — had 9,930 stations as of 31 December after 1,656 of its stations switched to other brands last year, according to the company's fourth-quarter results.

The brand switching has accelerated from 2017, when Pemex saw 2.4pc, or 278, of its stations switch to other brands compared with the previous year. In 2016 Pemex grew the number of retail fuel stations by 3.3pc to 11,578 stores.

Out of the Pemex-branded retail fuel stations in 2018, 9,884 are private franchises and 46 are owned directly by Pemex.

Pemex supplies another 2,006 stations that operate under other brands, meaning it continues to supply the majority of Mexico's retail fuel stations.

BP, Exxon and Chevron are the three largest international retail operators in Mexico. Oxxo, Hidrosina and G-500 are the top three domestic retail fuel brands after Pemex.

ExxonMobil is one of a few companies that has developed a separate fuel supply network for its 178-unit and growing network of retail stations. Fuels are exported to Mexico directly from its refineries in Texas.

The company sent 90 unit trains carrying fuels from November to January into Mexico to storage terminals located in San Jose Iturbide, Guanajuato; San Luis Potosi and Salinas Victoria in Nuevo Leon; and Tula in Hidalgo. Its stations, which operate under the Mobil brand, had steadier supplies during fuels shortages caused by government anti-fuel theft efforts in December and January.

BP, the first private company to open a non-Pemex retail fuel station in 2016, opened its 400th unit late last year, has added 50 since then, and aims to open 1,500 by 2021.

Chevron has now opened 140 retail fuel stations after opening its 100th retail fuel store in November of last year.

Swiss-based commodity trader Glencore is also a major private importer of fuel in Mexico, with almost 18,500 b/d imported in January which it plans to sell to a growing network of G-500 branded station.

Oxxo opened more than 100 stations in 12 months through September.

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