Fuel Importation & Marketing Strategies

Sourcing, purchasing and importing fuel to Mexico from U.S. suppliers

October 22-23, 2018

This hands-on 2 day workshop provides guidance to businesses in Mexico that are currently, or considering, importing fuel from the United States. Join OPIS fuel industry experts Scott Berhang and Dolores Santos as they walk you through all of the factors you must consider when establishing a brand new fuel buying strategy.

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Topics include:
  • Understanding your specific market risk
  • How to choose a supplier
  • How to write a rack supply contract and secure credit
  • Customs and taxation issues
  • How to use fuel benchmarks to structure your deal
  • How to market your fuel like U.S. jobbers
  • And much more!

Meet Your Instructors

Scott Berhang
Scott Berhang

Vice President, Global Sales
OPIS by IHSMarkit

Scott is an oil industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience covering spot markets, wholesale gasoline and diesel fuel markets, as well as industry news. He developed the OPIS West Coast Spot market report, whose spot prices have been the industry benchmark for over 20 years. Scott also travels around the country teaching fuel buyers the latest strategies on how to purchase fuel at the spot and rack level.

Meet Your Instructors

Dolores Santos

Fuel Supply Expert
OPIS by IHSMarkit

Dolores Santos is one of the industry’s most respected executives, with 40 years of experience buying and selling fuel for some of the industry’s largest petroleum products companies, including Wickland Oil and New West Petroleum. Before joining OPIS, Dolores was Director of Supply and Distribution for Flyers (Nella Oil Company), one of the largest and most prominent jobbers on the U.S. West Coast.



Day 1: Monday, October 22, 2018


9:00 – 10:00 a.m.


10:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Introduction and Opening Remarks

Meet your instructors and get an outline of key objectives and important concepts that will be covered during the class.


10:30 – 11:15 a.m.
How the U.S. Fuel Markets Operate– A Brief Overview

As deregulation unfolds, more and more fuel buyers and sellers in Mexico, and in U.S. border locations, want an understanding of how U.S. markets work. In this session, we will outline the U.S. Fuel Chain – how fuel moves from the refinery, to the distributor, and then ultimately to the retail station.


11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
How U.S. Fuel is Priced – Futures and Spot Markets

Now that we’ve explained how fuel gets from the refinery to the street in the U.S., let’s talk about how it gets priced. To understand that, we have to explain how futures markets and spot markets impact wholesale and retail prices. You’ll leave with a complete understanding of what a futures (paper) and a spot (physical) price are, and how they impact U.S. markets.


12:15 – 12:45 p.m.
Refreshment break


12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
Fuel Transaction Benchmarks – A Deep Dive

Fuel buyers and sellers in the U.S. know one thing – having a cost basis that is visible/transparent is a must have! But, there are a lot of benchmarks provided by Price Reporting Agencies (PRAs) to choose from. In this session, we’ll break down the choices, and explain the subtle (and not-so subtle differences) between the benchmarks. We’ll also take you through the concept of formula or index-based pricing.


1:45 – 2:30 p.m.
U.S. Petroleum Supply Agreements – The Basics

Having a supply deal and a cost basis/benchmark is great, but if you don’t have a fair, clear fuel supply agreement, you are in trouble. Between Dolores and Scott, they have more than 70 years of experience seeing BAD fuel contracts. In this can’t-miss session, we’ll outline what you absolutely MUST have in a fuel supply agreement, and how to negotiate the essentials into the agreement.


2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Networking Luncheon


3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
Retail Markets Part One: How U.S. Retail Markets Work

U.S. retail markets are complicated – there are many classes of classes of trade that affect price, and margin. For those who retail fuel in Mexico, this session is crucial – as deregulation continues, the retail “model” in the U.S. is likely to become more of a template for what Mexico markets will look like. Pay careful attention as we break out in easy to understand terms how fuels are retailed in the United States. Tomorrow, we’ll detail what is likely to emerge in Mexico as reform continues.


4:30 – 6:00 p.m.
Networking/Cocktail Reception


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Day 2: Tuesday, October 23, 2018


8:00 – 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast


8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Branding – How It Works in the U.S. and Its Impact in Mexico

The concept of the “brand” is very powerful in the U.S., and we expect it to emerge in Mexico’s deregulated markets as well. But what is really involved in branding a retail site? What are the risks and the rewards? What can you expect to encounter with the brand, and what do you need to know ahead of time to negotiate a fair brand agreement? No one knows this better than Dolores Santos – in this session, she’ll walk you through all of this, plus give you good AND bad examples of the branding agreements she’s worked with in her 40 years in the U.S. fuel industry.


9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
The Impact of Credit on Importing and Selling Fuel

The one issue that no fuel buyer or seller can avoid is credit. Buyers need it to get fuel, sellers must extend it to build up their customer base. But credit is tricky – what happens when fuel prices spike, and the cost of a load of fuel doubles? That impacts not only the seller, but also the buyer. In this critical session, Dolores – who has managed credit for some of the largest fuel distributors in the U.S. – will outline what you need to know when it comes to providing and asking for credit.


10:15 – 10:45 a.m.
Refreshment Break


10:45 – 11:30 a.m.
Risk Management – Identifying Where Your Fuel Price Risk Lives

If you buy or sell fuel, you have risk – risk that prices go up, or risk that prices collapse. You have to buy, or sell into the market EVERY DAY, and in doing so, you have to manage price volatility. We’ll look at different business models from the buy and the sell side and talk about specific cases of price risk. We’ll also offer basic suggestions on how to mitigate that risk in rising and in falling markets. Plus, we’ll give you the do’s and don’ts of setting up a risk or hedging program in your business.

Guest Speaker: Elaine Levin, President, Powerhouse

Elaine has worked in energy futures since 1988, creating and executing hedging strategies for energy producers, distributors and end users. Elaine has lectured on energy futures before many state associations and taught the topic at numerous professional meetings, including the nationally recognized Fuel Management University.


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Risk Management Part Two: Putting a Plan In Place

Talking about managing risk is one thing – getting a solid business plan in place to hedge your risk is something totally different. Elaine Levin has been working with all kinds of customers – distributors, end users, trucking companies – for more than 25 years. In this session, we’re going to create a fictional fuel buyer, create several market scenarios (where prices rise and/or fall), and outline some very basic techniques that can be employed to mitigate risk. This is a session that cannot be missed for anyone worried about price volatility and price risk.

Guest Speaker: Elaine Levin, President, Powerhouse


12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Networking Luncheon


1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Exporting /Importing Fuel – Who Owns the Responsibility & the Liability

As deregulation proceeds, more and more U.S. suppliers are going to look to export fuel into Mexico. And many fuel suppliers in Mexico are going to look for opportunities to import fuel, especially now that the U.S. fuel market is in an oversupplied/falling price period. But, exporting or importing fuel comes with many issues from a tax and a legal standpoint on both sides of the border. In this must-attend session, we’ll break down the essentials you need to know to either export, or import fuel.

Guest Speaker: Cintia Gonzalez, Customs Advisor, Wera Agentes Aduanales


2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Final Q&A/Workshop Adjourns


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