BP (LON:BP) plans to open 1,500 new service stations across Mexico over the next five years, Reuters has reported. The move will mark the first time an international oil major has sought a foothold in the country’s newly-liberalised fuel sector.
BP’s share price has gained ground in London this morning, having added 0.84 percent to 457.80p as of 10:04 GMT. The stock is slightly outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.42 percent higher at 7,345.59 points. The group’s shares have gained more than 33 percent over the past year, but have given up some 10 percent in the year-to-date.
Reuters reported last night that BP was planning to enter Mexico’s fuel market which by law was closed for decades to all firms except national oil company Pemex. The London-listed group operates around 18,000 gas stations scattered across some 20 countries.
“We’ve positioned ourselves as a leading fuel retailer in all of those markets,” Reuters quoted Richard Harding, a vice president with BP’s downstream unit, as saying at a ceremony in Mexico City. “Going forward, Mexico will be no exception.”
The company officially opened its first retail fuels site in Mexico yesterday, noting in a statement that it planned to open round 200 BP-branded retail sites in the country this year including both dealer and company owned-and-operated sites. Reuters quoted executives for the oil major as commenting that the new stations will charge ‘market prices’ for the fuel, and given a gradual phase-out of government-set fuel prices, the company was planning to stand out from its competitors with superior service, not lower prices.
In analyst news, JPMorgan Chase & Co reiterated its ‘overweight’ rating on BP today, valuing the shares at 530p. According to MarketBeat, the company currently has a consensus ‘buy’ rating and an average price target of 509.45p.