MEXICO CITY — While conversations to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA continue, energy trade between Mexico and the U.S. keeps expanding. And this Wednesday, an American company opened the first fully private gas station in Mexico.
ExxonMobil opened its station in the city of Querétaro, in central Mexico. Fuel is shipped from Texas by train.
Although other private companies like BP have opened gas stations with their own brands, it’s the first time that Mexico has one that is 100 percent independent from the state-owned petroleum company Pemex.
“This just comes as part of the realization that more investment is going to be happening,” said Jonathan Pinzón, an energy consultant and partner at Zumma, a consulting firm based in Mexico City.
Pinzón explained that the new station in Mexico opens an entire market not only for oil companies, but also for transportation and storage businesses.
“We’re seeing finally a fully operational private supply chain,” Pinzón said. “We’re going to see an increasing use of rails instead of the ducts used by Pemex.”
For Pinzón, the energy sector is essential in the relationship between Mexico and the U.S. and proof that free trade works.
“It would be sort of a political suicide to try to move against the actual developments in the market,” Pinzón said.
ExxonMobil plans to invest $300 million in Mexico in the next decade. The gas station will operate under their Mobil brand, and the company plans to expand gradually to the rest of the country.