For decades, if you pulled into to any gas station in Mexico, the brand name on the pump would invariably be PEMEX, the name of the state-run oil monopoly. Now oil giant Exxon Mobil has announced it will open 50 gas stations in Mexico in 2018. Eight are opening this week. Most other major energy companies have begun operations in Mexico since the nation opened its energy economy to private companies.
Jordan Blum, an energy reporter for the Houston Chronicle, says the Mexican oil industry was nationalized 75 years ago. The new openness to private companies began around the time of the most recent oil bust, in 2014, slowing the process.
Blum says opening up the industry required a change to the Mexican constitution. And even after foreign entities were allowed to become part of the Mexican market, it took some time for companies to get up and running. Most big oil companies have established presences in Mexico, Blum says. BP was the first to open gas stations. They now have 100.
Blum says Mexico deregulated the energy industry in order to modernize the country’s economy.
“Its more right-leaning, conservative government [is] just trying to invite that foreign investment and turn things around,” he says. “PEMEX had been struggling for several years, and there were a lot of concerns about inefficiencies and financial losses.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.