Saturday, March 9, 2019

Mexico fights Fuel Pirates

A blast last month at a gasoline pipeline in Mexico that killed at least 79 people has put renewed attention on the government’s strategy to stop fuel theft.

Fuel thieves punctured the Tula-Tuxpan pipeline a few miles from one of Mexico’s main refineries. Up to 800 people flocked to fill plastic containers from the seven-meter (23-ft) gasoline geyser that ensued. A couple of hours later, it erupted in flames in a powerful explosion.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched a program to shut down an illegal fuel distribution network that siphons off about $3b worth of fuel annually from state oil firm Pemex. The plan calls for shutting pipelines targeted by thieves and led to widespread gasoline shortages. The pipeline had been out of service since late December after gangs had hit it 10 times in Tlahuelilpan.