LP gas theft has cost Mexico MXN$8 billion in 2018

8 out of 10 illegal LP gas tappings have been perpetrated during the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto
LP gas theft has cost Mexico MXN$8 billion in 2018
The financial damage is covered in part by PEMEX, which absorbs 770 million pesos, along with distributors, which pay 330 million a month - Omar Contreras/EL UNIVERSAL
16/10/2018
16:35
Noé Cruz Serrano
Mexico City
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In 2007, during Felipe Calderón’s administration, theft of liquid petroleum gas (LP) through the illegal tapping of Mexican Petroleums (PEMEX)’s pipelines started to occur in the state of Veracruz.

Today, this illegal practice has spread to 10 different federal entities, affecting Puebla, the State of Mexico, Querétaro, Tlaxcala, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Hidalgo, Tabasco, Veracruz, and Jalisco, where 166 perforations for the illegal tapping of LP gas were registered at the end of 2017. Until August 31 of the present year, PEMEX registered 137 illegal perforations for the extraction of LP gas and the number is likely to grow beyond 200 by the end of the year, causing losses of over MXN$12 billion annually.

According to PEMEX’s Management for Strategy, Security Systems, and Monitoring, a total of 953 illegal perforations for the extraction of LP gas have been registered since the year 2007: 166 under the administration of Felipe Calderón and 787 during the government of Enrique Peña Nieto, showing a 374% increase with regard to the previous administration.

Eight out of ten illegal tappings have been perpetrated during the present administration. The theft of LP gas, added to the illegal tapping of gasoline and other types of fuel, have represented losses for 42 billion pesos a year.

The EnergeA Power Advisory Services firm, which conducted a study to assess the problem of physical security at facilities of the hydrocarbons sector in Mexico, claims that until 2017, the database keeping track of fuel theft had focused on the illegal extraction of gasoline and diesel only, and had not taken into account the impact of LP gas theft, as well as the extraction of other products. Private distributors of LP gas in the country have pointed out that each month, around 58 thousand tons of this hydrocarbon are stolen, which is equivalent to a loss of 1.1 billion pesos.

The financial damage is covered in part by PEMEX, which absorbs 770 million pesos, along with distributors, which pay 330 million a month.

Business representatives from the LP Gas Distributors Association (ADG) and the Mexican Association for the Distribution of Gas and Related Businesses (AMEXGAS) have estimated that out of the 30 million they make monthly in sales throughout the country, 2.32 million correspond to stolen fuel sales. This means that 8% of users receive and consume stolen gas without knowing of its unlawful origin.

Luis Landeros Martínez and Jaime Ayala, chairmen of these associations, consider that the theft of LP gas, be it through the illegal tapping of PEMEX pipelines or vehicle robbery, has resulted in losses of almost 8 billion pesos during the first eight months of the year.

According to reports from PEMEX and gas distributors, the black market for the sale of stolen fuel is located in the State of Mexico, which accounts for 40% of illegal perforations for LP gas extraction in the country. Criminal groups have even gone as far as using tank trucks stolen from distributors to sell their clandestine product.

These criminals usually sell gas in areas where they conduct the illegal extraction. It would be riskier and more expensive for them to distribute the stolen fuel at a longer distance, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The second entity where the tapping and sale of fuel has risen in the past few months is Puebla, with 34%, and third is Querétaro, with 9.4%.
 

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