One of BP's new gas stations. One of BP's new gas stations.

Corruption is slowing BP’s expansion plans

'We have a problem in the municipalities,' oil company says

Complicated procedures to obtain permits and corruption are challenges for the expansion plans of the British multinational oil and gas company BP.

Almost 11 months after opening its first gas station in Mexico, BP México’s vice-president of operations reported that the firm’s expansion is decelerating and the long-term goal of operating 1,500 gas stations in five years “is slow going.”

“BP plans to have 1,500 gas stations in five years’ time. I find this very difficult. Last year, the first year, we barely reached 120, and we’re planning to reach 350 this year. If we consider that our original target was 300 [new gas stations] per year, we’re falling behind schedule,” Alfredo García Mondragón said during an energy summit in Monterrey.

“What we’ve seen,” he continued, “is that we’ve got a problem in the municipalities, and this not only BP but other firms as well.”

He explained that the problem was corruption, a problem that is “not exclusive to Nuevo León.”

The general manager of BP Downstream for Mexico, Álvaro Granada Sanz, said the firm plans to open 10 new gas stations in the state this year as franchises.

Its goal is to capture 15% of the market.

The country as a whole remains attractive, said vice-president García.

“What we’ve experienced is that the gas station market in Mexico is mature, with a wide range of suppliers. The country has standardized regulations that oversee the operation of gas stations that put it at an international level.

“That’s what makes the Mexican market attractive for investors.”

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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