Shell opens first Mexico gas station, eyes up to $1 billion investment

By Elliot Bullman

Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell opened its first gas station in Mexico on Tuesday, adding to a growing list of foreign-branded pumps in a market still dominated by the green-coloured outlets of state-owned company Pemex.

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Following a 2013 constitutional energy overhaul that ended Pemex’ decades-long monopoly, private companies can now brand gas stations and sell non-Pemex brand gasoline and diesel, as well as import fuels.

The opportunities are huge for the private sector in the fuel market of Latin America’s second-biggest economy, with Mexico now one of the world’s biggest gasoline consumers and the top foreign importer of U.S. gasoline.

Shell said in a statement that it plans to open an unspecified number of additional service stations and that investment in Mexico’s fuel sector could reach about $1 billion over the next decade “if current market conditions are maintained.”

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The company’s inaugural gas station, which also features a convenience store, is located in a northwestern suburb of Mexican City.

Shell, which in June won a shallow water exploration and production contract along with France’s Total, operates more than 43,000 gas stations in some 80 countries worldwide.

Mexico boasts some 11,400 gas stations, the vast majority of which remain Pemex franchises.

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