Mexico's Pemex fined $50 mln for market abuse -regulator
MEXICO CITY Aug 25 (Reuters) - Mexico's state-owned oil monopoly, Pemex, must pay a $50 million fine for forcing gas stations to transport fuel in tankers operated by its own unionized staff, the country's competition regulator said on Sunday.
The practice violates the country's competition law and has forced gasoline stations to pay an extra 1 billion pesos ($77 million) for transport each year, said Mexico's competitiveness commission, which imposed the 653.2 million-peso fine.
Mexico's constitution gives Pemex the exclusive right to sell wholesale gasoline.
However, the company "is abusing its market power" by forcing gas stations that have already purchased the fuel to buy transport services from union workers, at a 50 to 67 percent markup, the commission said.
Opposition lawmakers say rules give the powerful Pemex union an unfair advantage over contracts for certain services and that this opens the door to corruption.
Mexico's president, Enrique Pena Nieto, presented an energy reform this month aimed at luring foreign investment and boosting dwindling production at Pemex, proposing companies share in the profit rather than simply provide services for a fee.
The proposal, if approved by Congress, would be the biggest overhaul of Mexico's energy sector since the government expropriated U.S. and British oil companies in 1938, but some analysts say it may not go far enough to entice investors.
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