Despite claims by the federal government that petroleum theft has declined 95%, state oil company data shows that the number of pipeline taps in the first seven months of the year was virtually unchanged compared to the same period of 2018.
Pemex detected 8,655 taps between January and July, just 51 – or 0.5% – fewer than the number recorded in the first seven months of 2018.
While the number of taps on petroleum pipelines remained steady, those on LP gas lines more than tripled to 623 compared to 206 between January and July last year.
Pemex data published on the National Transparency Platform also shows that fuel carried by 32 tanker trucks has been stolen this year whereas just 14 trucks were held up during all of 2018.
Another statistic that debunks President López Obrador’s claim that fuel theft has “almost come to an end” is that the number of reports of the crime filed by Pemex lawyers in the first seven months of the year – 11,907 – is 60% higher than that recorded in all of 2018.
One figure that has declined significantly is the quantity of stolen fuel recovered by authorities.
The government seized just under 8 million liters of stolen fuel between January and July whereas it secured just under 25.2 million liters last year.
However, there is no data showing the quantity of stolen fuel that wasn’t recovered, the newspaper El Universal said. Therefore, lower confiscation levels don’t necessarily mean that less petroleum is being stolen.
The government has made combating fuel theft a priority, implementing a plan in which 15 government departments and organizations, including the army, navy and National Guard, are participating.
López Obrador claimed on Friday that on his watch, petroleum theft has declined 95% from 80,000 barrels per day to 4,000.
As a result, 50 billion pesos (US $2.6 billion) that would have been lost had theft levels remained the same will flow into government coffers, he said.
The Pemex figures, however, raise significant questions about the reliability of the claims made by the president, who on occasions has dismissed official statistics by asserting that he has “other data.”
Source: El Universal (sp)