Repairing pipeline taps takes time, leading to supply shortages. Repairing pipeline taps takes time, leading to supply shortages.

Pemex says pipeline theft, hurricane cause of fuel shortages in Guanajuato

20 gas stations in León have run out of supplies during the last two weeks

Illegal taps on petroleum pipelines coupled with supply chain disruptions caused by Hurricane Willa have resulted in fuel shortages in Guanajuato.

Officials from the state oil company Pemex told the newspaper Milenio that due to a high number of illegal perforations, pipelines between Tula, Hidalgo, and Salamanca, Guanajuato, have been shut off.

“. . . There are supply delays because we have to close the ducts in order to repair them and that to a large extent delays supply to the state,” they said.

Pemex operates refineries in both Salamanca and Tula.

Authorities detected 1,852 illegal taps on pipelines in Guanajuato last year, more than any other state in the country.

The crime, perpetrated by gangs of thieves known as huachicoleros, is considered the main reason behind rising levels of violent crime in Guanajuato, especially in the state’s industrial corridor which includes the municipalities of Celaya, Salamanca and Irapuato.

The Pemex officials also said that poor weather conditions brought by Willa last week made it impossible to unload fuel from ships at some ports, further limiting supply.

The fuel shortage is being acutely felt in León, where at least 20 gas stations out of a total of 183 have reported running out of gasoline over the past two weeks. It’s not just Pemex stations that are affected but those operated by BP and Shell as well.

Pemex is working to reestablish adequate fuel supply to affected municipalities, the company’s officials said.

The shortages apply mainly to the Magna brand of gasoline which, being the more economical, sees the greatest demand. Pemex said in September that nearly 85% of gasoline purchased in the first seven months was Magna. In 2016, Magna represented 78% of the total sold.

The increase has been attributed to fuel price increases.

Source: Milenio (sp), am (sp)

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