New Standards for Specifications of Fuels in Mexico

August 30, 2016

On August 29, 2016, Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission (Comisión Reguladora de Energía) (“CRE”) published in the Federal Gazette the Official Government Standard NOM-016-CRE-2016 (“NOM”), through which the CRE establishes various quality specifications for fuels. The NOM applies to all hydrocarbon-based fuels such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and propane, and is mandatory for all producers, importers, storage service providers, transporters, distributors, marketers, and retail. The CRE will have full enforcement powers, and will be assisted by specialized verification units authorized by it.

Quality specifications for gasoline vary by, and depend on, type and region. Accordingly, the country is divided into the following regions: Border Zone, Guadalajara Zone, Monterrey Zone, Valley of Mexico, and other Country Zones.

Notably, the use of Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), Ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE), and Tert-amyl methyl ether (TAME) as oxygenates in regular and premium gasoline is permitted nationwide up to a maximum of 2.7 percent per mass of oxygen. The use of other additives, which are not regulated in the NOM, will require the CRE’s prior authorization, including for oxygenates and other compounds employed to increase octane rating.

The use of ethanol is prohibited in the Valley of Mexico and the Metropolitan Zone, Guadalajara Area, and the Monterrey Area. In other Country Zones, the use of anhydrous ethanol will be allowed in regular and premium gasoline up to a volume of 5.8 percent.

The NOM becomes effective 60 calendar days following its publication in the Federal Gazette, and repeals standard NOM-EM-005-CRE-2015.

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