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Mexico, Pemex and the Oil Theft Threat

Oil theft from Nigerian pipelines tends to steal (literally) the media spotlight due to the sheer volume and the external markets that encourage it. But the same issue in Mexico receives little attention, and while it may not compare to Nigeria, it is an issue that continues to plague Pemex, not to mention endanger critical infrastructure, livelihoods, and lives. This week we are examining the oil and gas theft threat level in Mexico aided by the ongoing intelligence operations conducted by our partners at Southern Pulse.

On 16 December 2013 in the municipality of Tezoyuca, Mexico State, approximately 42 kilometers northeast of Mexico City, an explosion occurred on a Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) pipeline, allegedly caused by a leak from an illegal tap in order to steal liquefied petroleum gas. The explosion injured seven and forced the evacuation of approximately 800 families. Tezoyuca Mayor Arturo Ahumada Cruz affirmed that the pipeline that runs on the border of his municipality is perpetually tapped to steal gas.

Illegal diversion of gas and oil has occurred for years, but it is an increasingly widespread problem. Leaks and explosions in recent years have caused dozens of deaths and forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes. Pemex reports from October 2013 indicate that from January to 20 October 2013, the company found over 2,069 illicit taps, a significant increase over the 1,635 found in 2012. Earlier in October, the Energy Ministry confirmed…

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