EL PASO, Texas -- Phillips 66 is opening its first retail sites in Mexico.
The Houston-based refiner, which owns the Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco brands, has a licensing agreement with fuel distributor Windstar LPG to open and operate branded sites in eight northern Mexican states, according to Arizona Public Media (AZPM). The first locations—three 76 branded sites—opened in Hermosillo, Sonora, on July 12. Another site was opening soon after in Chihuahua.
Reynold Gonzalez, CFO for El Paso, Texas-based Windstar, told AZPM that the company has "aggressive plans" for expanding in Mexico, with 25 to 30 branded locations slated for Sonora by the end of 2018.
Some industry observers have questioned whether Mexico’s new president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, might reverse the energy reforms launched in 2013 by his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, which included opening up the fuel market to foreign companies. Lopez Obrador said he would review the reforms if he discovered corruption in how contracts were awarded, Reuters reported; however, he has not announced any plans for rollbacks since winning the election in July.
Gonzalez of Windstar told AZPM that his company would not be opening locations in Mexico if it was concerned about a rollback, and that he believes U.S. competitors could help improve the quality of gasoline for fuel customers in Mexico.
"We are an example of a positive result of the energy reform act," he said.