United States and Mexico

Private players lament 'unfair' application of Mexican fuel transport rules

Bnamericas Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Private players lament 'unfair' application of Mexican fuel transport rules

Uneven enforcement of Mexico’s new rules requiring fuel transportation companies to register units and supply routes are driving industry concerns, according to IHS Markit’s oil price information service (OPIS).

An OPIS report analyzing the impacts of the regulations, introduced by energy regulator CRE earlier this year, on the retail fuel market cited private players claiming authorities are treating them “unfairly.”

The new registration requirements (originally published here) are extensive, requiring companies to create and maintain a registry of vehicles used to carry cargo, their routes, the cancellation of old routes and any modifications made on any routes.

As such, they are unable to simply change travel plans or trucks due to unforeseen circumstances, such as a last-minute mechanical failure or inadequate supply at the terminal where the company is scheduled to pick up fuel. 

Private players cited in the report said CRE has been giving national oil company Pemex and its retail fuel sales network an occasional pass on keeping to registered routes, while enforcing strict adherence from private players.

“If Pemex has [a fuel shortage] at one terminal, it will send its customers to load fuel at any other nearby dock. However, Pemex's transportation companies do not list all possible destinations,” one interviewee told OPIS, as reported in Mexican energy news outlet Oil & Gas Magazine.

National cargo vehicle chamber (Canacar) has also raised the issue, sending a letter to CRE commissioners requesting that cargo trucks not be subject to the fuel market registration requirements. 

The chamber argued in its request that trucks are not listed as a regulated asset under Mexico's hydrocarbons law, restricting CRE's oversight to trucks with a fuel tank attached to the chassis, including tractor trailers and tanker trucks. 

The industry complaint comes on the heels of a separate letter sent to Mexico’s foreign relations, trade and energy ministries from US lawmakers citing an escalation in discriminatory and arbitrary enforcement actions against US companies through what appears to be selective use of authority by the government and regulators.

The letter cites media reports in suggesting the Mexican government has suspended permits to US-owned fuel storage terminals, using the national guard to force the closure of 23 fuel-related facilities and the partial closure of another 171.

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