18 | NOV | 2019
Pemex: Fuel theft & millions in losses
For almost two decades, Pemex has been the victim of fuel theft – Photo: Daniel Becerril/EL UNIVERSAL

Pemex: Fuel theft & millions in losses

Mexico City
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Pemex seems to be showing positive results, nevertheless, it is facing a mixed picture

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The future of Pemex seems to be a mixed picture. On one hand, it seems to show positive results in the fight against fuel theft but on the other hand, it has shown a series of negative numbers in its financial report in regards to the last three months, which was released yesterday. In the report, it is revealed that the losses registered during the first 9 months of 2019 amount to MXN $176,000 million. How can Pemex overturn this tendency?

Blaming Andrés Manuel López Obrador's administration for the current situation at Pemex wouldn't be correct. Since 2000, different administrations stop investing in Pemex and only focused on extracting resources from the oil company, as well as wasting and diverting millions from the state-owned company. The current government inherited the most indebted oil company in the world.

Fuel thieves raid Pemex platforms on high seas.

However, the current administration has to provide results in regards to the fight against fuel theft. In early 2019, the government adopted extreme measures to halt fuel theft. The fuel pipelines were closed and fuel was supplied through tank trucks, which resulted in fuel shortages throughout the country.

In December 2019, it was revealed that fuel theft generated losses for MXN $200 million every day, and the stolen fuel amounted to 600 tank trucks with 15,000 liters each.
Now, the report shows that the strategy implemented to fight fuel theft, especially in regards to clandestine fuel pipelines, has been effective: from January to September, the illegal fuel taps decreased by 43.2%. The economic losses generated by fuel theft decreased by 91% during the third trimester, from MXN $10,700 million in 2018 to MXN $1,000 million in 2019.

Fuel theft crackdown causes shortages and panic in Mexico.

Nevertheless, the government has yet to explain why despite the fact that fuel theft has decreased, why have national sales and the domestic revenue decreased because since less fuel is stolen, sales should increase.

Among the positive results contained in Pemex's latest financial report, it was announced that its debt decreased by 6% and that after 14 years of a decline in its production, it has now sightly increased. A few positive numbers in the midst of a difficult prospect.

Mexico urgently needs to move away from fossil fuels and diversify the industry; although it is more urgent to acknowledge if the state's main productive company has hit rock bottom. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

Fuel theft, a burden for Mexico.


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