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Deadly Pipeline Accident Kills 28, P.2

In our last post, we discussed a tragic pipeline accident that occurred in Mexico last month, killing 28 and injuring 54. Over 100 homes were destroyed throughout a three-mile radius. Thieves allegedly tapped into pipelines near San Martin Texmelucan owned by Mexico's state-owned oil production company Pemex and were unable to contain unsteady oil flowing from the taps. A spark ignited the crude and a devastating eruption ensued.

It's interesting to learn that this sort of pipeline tapping scam is not a unique occurrence. Pemex's reports on the matter detail more than 600 illegal taps into their pipelines throughout the country just last year. 60 of these illegal taps were illegally inflicted in close proximity to the piping that caused last month's deadly explosion. Pemex's director general Juan Jose Suarez indicated illegal taps such as the one that caused the explosion only create leaks in as little as 3 percent of cases.

Pemex filed suit back in June in a Houston federal courtroom against five oil production companies in the U.S. for allegedly purchasing oil stolen from Pemex with knowledge of its origin. The oil production company compiled and shared data to indicate pipeline tapping has become much more popular as of late, with the incidence of such a crime having risen by as much as 300 percent since 2005.

The U.S. Justice Department reports that refineries based in our country paid millions of dollars for oil stolen from pipelines operated by the Mexican government in 2009. Their report details that the stolen oil was smuggled into the U.S. largely by Mexican drug cartels. Two oil companies based in Texas were placed on probation this past fall based on their involvement in the sale of stolen petroleum from Mexico.

It is clear to see that deadly pipeline accidents are likely to continue in Mexico until such demand for stolen oil ceases.

Source: KSAT12 "Mexico Investigates Pipeline Blast That Killed 28" by E. Eduardo Castillo, 12/19/10

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