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Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

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Mexican Army Starts Major Crackdown On Fuel Theft

Mexico’s military have taken control over 58 key fuel installations in the country, including refineries, upon orders by new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has vowed to fight corruption and fuel theft within and outside state-run energy company Pemex.  

Lopez Obrador unveiled a plan on Thursday to increase the presence of military and the use of the army in fighting rampant fuel theft that has been costing Mexico’s state firm Pemex billions of dollars annually.

According to Pemex’s own estimates, the losses from fuel theft over the past three years have reached US$7.5 billion (147 billion Mexican pesos).

According to Lopez Obrador, authorities are also involved in widespread fuel theft.

“This is the theft of national assets, of public funds, of money that belongs to all Mexicans,” Reuters quoted Lopez Obrador as saying at a regular news conference on Thursday.

On Friday, the Mexican army took control of refineries of Pemex across the country, where unionized workers were blocking the access to some of the sites, UPI reports, citing the Excelsior newspaper.

Mexican media report that three officials at Pemex, suspected of having facilitated fuel theft, had already been arrested for the alleged crimes. The three Pemex officials have been sacked and will be facing criminal charges, Mexico’s Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero said at Lopez Obrador’s news conference on Thursday.

Related: ExxonMobil Faces Off With Venezuela’s Navy

Pemex’s new management are aware of the fact that company employees have been complicit in fuel theft and moved to deal with the problem, Gertz Manero said.  

Illegal taps on Mexican fuel pipelines jumped by 45 percent annually between January and October 2018, according to Pemex’s latest report on fuel theft.

Earlier this year, former Pemex chief executive Carlos Alberto Treviño Medina said that fuel theft was expected to cost the state oil company as much as US$1.78 billion (35 billion pesos) in 2018.

Apart from rampant fuel theft, Pemex also has to cope with declining domestic oil production, which hit in October one of the lowest monthly production rates since 1990 when records began.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • DdB on December 29 2018 said:
    The last 24 years of Mexican government are complicit in the narco-wars and the wholesale theft of Mexican resources. The bad people are always the same bad people. I could name names but I'm sure you already know. The fake reports that said Cantarell was not drawing any $ allowed privatization and the led to the shitshow EPN left this country. There is a new sheriff in town and she's not taking any prisoners.
  • Vishwas on December 30 2018 said:
    Mexico oil theft $2.5-3.0 billion a year? What must be the estimate for Iraq, Nigeria, Libya, Syria, Russia, Indonesia, Venezuela - may be $40-50 billion a year? Say, 2.0 - 2.5 million BPD? Which refineries are buying it? China's teapot refineries seem the major buyers for the huge oil cost savings. Not talking about good or bad but of a big parallel oil market - roughly about 4% of global oil exports. It can easily upstage oil production cut policy of OPEC.

    Such money is bound to be invested mostly in other illegal activities like arms for terrorism.

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