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After curbing fuel theft Pemex is now dealing with LP gas theft by organized crime groups

Mexico City, Mexico — Organized crime groups who once stole Pemex fuel are now stealing LP gas. In a press conference, Carlos Serrano Farrera, president of the Mexican Association of LP Gas Distributors explained that after the government implemented a program to stop fuel theft, criminals are now stealing LP gas.

He explained that criminal groups who were previously stealing gasoline and diesel from Pemex pipelines have migrated their activity to the theft of liquefied petroleum gas (LP). According to the main distribution associations, these criminal carry out an average of six daily perforations in the country’s main pipeline, which they detail, has reached around 60,000 tons per month.

Serrano explained that after a federal government program against gasoline theft was implemented in 2019, significant progress was made in reduction of clandestine intakes. However, in the last four years, these criminal groups migrated to the LP gas pipelines and today, there are 2,187 clandestine intakes reported per year, an increase of 1,000 percent over the 200 intakes in 2018.

“In 2018, we registered a clandestine connection to the LP gas pipeline every two days. Last year, the report was almost seven daily clandestine connections to the main Pemex pipeline, to the 1,600-kilometer-long LPG pipeline that begins in Cactus, Chiapas, interconnects in Pajaritos Veracruz and then crosses the entire center of the country to reach Zapopan, Jalisco,” he explained.

He said that 94 percent of the illegal intakes are concentrated in Puebla, Mexico, Tlaxcala and Veracruz.

Last year, the effects, he explained, resulted in the pipeline service being suspended at some point during the day for 146 days of the year or 40 percent of the year, which generates supply problems in 18 regions.

Luis Landeros, president of the Association of LP Gas Distributors, explained that the theft amounts in volume adds up to about 60,000 tons per month, and at a price of at least 20 peso per kilogram, they sell 1.2 million peso per month on clandestine routes via cloned pipes that consumers cannot distinguish.

“We request an effective program to be able to combat the theft of LP gas from Pemex pipelines which therefore, affects our distribution. Inspections must be carried out among the vehicles that distribute the gas, which is the only way to reduce this growing illegality,” he said.