Is Pemex Coming to America?

Signage indicates Mexico’s national oil company opening first U.S. gas station

Pemex Houston gas station

HOUSTON -- Pemex, the national oil company owned by Mexico’s government, is opening a gas station in Houston, according to a GasBuddy report citing a social media posting and photo.

Monchris @PrettyGordo__ was first to tweet a picture of the still-under-construction station's sign.

Pemex has recently been in the news with the announcement of significant energy reforms that will go in effect in 2017. The reforms will include allowing a free-floating retail gasoline price and will allow retail competition, said the report. In previous years, the company had a duty to provide services to remote areas, no matter the cost. Now, with a new focus on profit and with new added competition, Pemex can be more selective in services it provides, GasBuddy said.

Unlike independent U.S. gas stations flying the CITGO brand, which is owned by Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), Venezuela’s national oil company, the Pemex gas stations would carry the Pemex brand.

Although CITGO gas stations "have not been completely immune from boycotts when negative Venezuelan news arises … the CITGO brand has helped keep a buffer between fuel sales and Venezuelan politics," said GasBuddy.

Pemex's move also comes after reports earlier this year that Monterrey, Mexico-based beverage company Fomento Económico Mexicano SAB de CV (FEMSA), owner of the OXXO chain of convenience stores in Mexico, hopes to invest approximately $850 million to open 900 convenience stores in Texas and elsewhere the United States.

FEMSA now operates two “proof-of-concept” convenience stores in Texas, one in Eagle Pass, which it opened in 2014, and one in Laredo, which it opened in 2015.

That expansion, however, remains contingent upon changes to alcoholic beverage laws in Texas that prohibit retailers of alcohol from being owned by firms with ties to the liquor industry.

Mexico City-based Pemex has more than 10,000 gas stations in Mexico.