Downstream Interviews Midstream

Retail and COVID-19: leaders call for government recovery policies


Retail leaders agreed that the sector needs active recovery policies from the government, society’s participation, and an emphasis on sanitation, distance, and mask measures.

At the Energy Oil & Gas Summit, leaders of retail activities discussed their forecasts and perspectives on the sector’s recovery trends in a post-Covid-19 scenario.

Although retail activity has been considered essential since the beginning of the pandemic, companies in Mexico believe that the recovery is significantly slow. Discontinued activity in other sectors directly affects retail in terms of mobility changes due to home office schemes and lockdowns.

In this sense, the forecasts of the experts are not very optimistic. According to the panelists, the recovery will be slow, and, in the short term (end of 2020), projections continue to predict a declining demand for gasoline.

However, according to the IMF and OPEC forecasts, the leaders also mentioned that the oil demand would increase in the long term. Both organizations project recovery for the 2022-2024 period.

Gasoline has recovered since some sectors are already active. In comparison, diesel has had a less favorable recovery, still at April and May levels.

Learned experiences

Although the future looks uncertain, experts said there are several experiences learned from the pandemic. Companies are now looking to solve internal problems and modernize their infrastructure and services.

Additionally, cultural and social change has proven useful, given the expertise, it brings to businesses and communities.

If an outbreak occurs again, leaders agreed that several companies are already well adapted to this new normal to overcome it in a friendlier way.

What they need

How to reactivate fuel consumption? The panelists agreed on three main measures to address current trends in declining retail demand:

  • Government: active participation through permits, certainty, and respect of legality
  • Investors: technology modernization, services optimization, and creativity
  • Consumers: more rational use of new technologies and retail’s value proposals

Finally, the experts added that given the current trends of energy centralization of the Mexican government, it was essential to recognize the slight difference between energy security and energy sovereignty.

The leaders concluded that to recover economically and technologically from this pandemic, the government must work with private initiative. With that in mind, the final winners will be the country and its citizens.

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