Workers plug another pipeline tap. Workers plug another pipeline tap.

Pipeline thefts soar 51%, cost 10.9bn

There were 5,574 cases filed with the Attorney General

The theft of gasoline and other hydrocarbon products from illegal taps on Pemex pipelines soared by 51% during 2015, totaling at least 6.9 million barrels and representing a loss for the state oil company of 10.9 billion pesos (US $591 million).

Pemex filed 5,574 complaints before the Attorney General’s office for illegal taps last year, compared to 3,674 cases in 2014.

Guanajuato became the state where the most illegal taps were recorded, registering 968, an increase of 127% over 2014. The Bajío state displaced Tamaulipas, where the thefts increased 32% in 2015, totaling 926.

Most other states experienced an increase, too, with the exceptions of Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora and Zacatecas, where the numbers were down.

So far this year, Pemex filed four complaints, for three taps and an act of vandalism, that affected pipelines in the states of Veracruz, Guanajuato, Jalisco and Tabasco.

In an effort to put a stop to the theft of fuel, Pemex designed a new transport strategy last February, although it seems to have had no impact. Instead of running the finished product — different gasolines and diesel — through its 9,000-kilometer network of pipelines, the company began sending a partially refined product, unsuitable for use in vehicles or industrial plants.

Pemex had to spread its fuel refining processes throughout its 77 distribution plants in order to keep up with the 640,000 daily barrel yield of its centralized refinery.

Coupled with this strategy, Congress approved new legislation last December that imposes harsher penalties for the theft of hydrocarbon products. Those caught stealing from Pemex facilities face jail time of 15 to 25 years, and fines of up to 1.05 million pesos (US $57,000).

Now all they have to do is catch the culprits.

Source: El Economista (sp)

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