Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) published modifications to the country’s fuel quality standard, NOM-016-CRE-2016, on June 26, 2017, stoking an ongoing kerfuffle among parties on either side of the ethanol-as-fuel debate. Beyond the philosophical grandstanding, the changes to the reg have potential to impact the evolution of the fuel industry in Mexico and as is often the case, they are generating no small amount of confusion.
Over the past 10 years, national oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has repeatedly announced its intention to introduce gasoline containing ethanol into the Mexican market, only to suspend the effort for one reason or another each time, most recently in 2015. The standard permitting up to 5.8% ethanol as an oxygenate in gasoline has been on the books since August 2016, yet as best we can determine, gasoline currently sold in Mexico is oxygenated with MTBE rather than ethanol. The recent modifications to the fuel standard include an increase in the maximum allowable percentage of ethanol in gasoline from 5.8% to 10%, clearing the way for the introduction of so-called E10 fuel. The move comes within the context of Mexico’s energy industry reform, which allows for private production, importation and sale of fuels as well as the elimination of government establishment of fuel prices. The elimination of gas price controls at the pump is currently being implemented by region, to culminate in nationwide free market pricing as of January 1, 2018. Continue reading Changes to ethanol NOM prompt fuel market debate