Thirty Gas Stations to Open in Puebla This YearBy MBN Staff | Wed, 01/13/2021 - 17:58
Puebla’s gas station coverage is set to increase this year as 30 of 100 planned gas stations open, generating over 900 jobs for the state.
Speaking to Milenio, ONEXPO President Rafael Zorrilla Alanís said the aim was to open 100 stations in the state with an estimate cost of US$1 billion dollars. Nevertheless, the pandemic has slowed the plans.
“Uncertainty continues in all sectors and for this year, about 100 more stations were planned to be opened in the state of Puebla. Now, we estimate that 30 percent will be able to open," he explained.
Though uncertainty does continue in Puebla – along with the majority of states - under maximum lockdown restrictions, the construction of new gas stations will offer hope and confidence to industry stakeholders in the year ahead. Mexico’s retail sector was battered by the pandemic with gas retail volumes almost halving in April during the first wave of lockdowns. PEMEX’s historic 1H20 losses were in large part down to a drop in retail revenue after restrictions on movement were put in place. In May, the company reported a 48 percent drop in sales in April compared to March, which represented a 70.82 percent fall against April 2019.
Prior to December, retail volumes had seen recovery as the industry opened up and people returned to work. Now, however, lockdowns have returned to most states in the country and retailers will once again be hoping that COVID-19 cases fall quickly.
The future for retail looks set to be complicated following the introduction of a draft bill that would change the permitting process for the importation of gas, which will consequently reduce competitivity within the sector, say critics of the bill. Because private players do not yet extract enough oil to retail in Mexico, the change of import permits, which would allow SENER to refuse permits without reason, would put private brands at a disadvantage, the Federal Commission of Economic Competition (COFECE) believes. The change “distorts the administrative figure of the permit, since it turns it into a public policy instrument to control the energy balance,” said COFECE in a statement.
PEMEX’s share of the retail market fell quickly in the first five years of the Energy Reform. According to figures reported recently, the NOC today has 7,750 stations under its flag, a drop of 30.86 percent from the 11,210 it had in 2015.