Tags: drug cartel | loot | mexico | gasoline | supply

Drug Cartels Looting Mexico's Lucrative Gasoline Supplies

Image: Drug Cartels Looting Mexico's Lucrative Gasoline Supplies

People crowd in for gasoline and diesel fuel in Mexico. (AP Photo/Erick Herrera)
 

By    |   Friday, 13 Jan 2017 12:11 PM

Drug cartels are reportedly looting Mexico's gasoline supplies to sell on the expanding black market after the government ended gas subsidies on New Year's Day, which jacked up gas prices about 20 percent.

Gasoline bandits have been tapping into the Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) pipelines, creating gasoline shortages, Bloomberg reported, and authorities have found more than 5,500 gasoline line taps in 2015, compared to 710 in 2010.

As the crimes increase, Mexico finds itself in a cycle of thefts increasing the costs for state-owned Pemex and making the official gasoline supply more scarce and costly for legal consumers.

"If Pemex were a public company, they would be in financial trouble just because of the theft of fuel. It's that bad," said Luis Miguel Labardini, an energy consultant at Marcos y Asociados and a Pemex senior adviser in the 1990s. He said the theft amounts to about $1 billion annually.

While briefly mentioning the tapping problem, Pemex said in December that it was stepping up efforts to maintain adequate gasoline supplies to its 12,000 stations.

"During the year, the work of supplying service stations has had some difficulties that can cause certain minimal and isolated delays in the delivery of fuel," said Pemex. "The problems, which arise for various reasons such as weather conditions or suspension of pipeline transportation because of illegal tapping, are solved as soon as possible to affect the daily activities of our customers as little as possible."

The rising gas prices have led to protest by customers, noted TeleSUR. About 100 protestors blocked a service station in the Pacific Coast resort of Acapulco while groups in Chihuahua state's capital pledged to block all commercial transportation from entering or exiting the city.

Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto has promised that gasoline prices will eventually moderate with the end of the national ownership of petroleum in March and letting the market dictate the prices, wrote TeleSUR. Mexico's gasoline price ceiling will be adjusted daily starting Feb. 18, before the free market takeover.

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Drug cartels are reportedly looting Mexico's gasoline supplies to sell on the expanding black market after the government ended gas subsidies on New Year's Day, which jacked up gas prices about 20 percent.
drug cartel, loot, mexico, gasoline, supply
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2017-11-13
Friday, 13 Jan 2017 12:11 PM
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