April 12, 2012 / 4:10 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 2-Pemex controls fire at halted W. Mexico pipeline

MEXICO CITY, April 12 (Reuters) - Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex said on Thursday it had extinguished a fire at a gasoline-transporting pipeline it was forced to shut down in western Mexico, and said it should avoid any supply disruptions thanks to inventories.

Flames disrupted its Salamanca to Guadalajara 16-inch duct in the municipality of Tala in the state of Jalisco, about 350 miles (560 km) west of Mexico City. Pemex said the blaze was caused by illegal fuel tapping.

Emergency services said flames rose as high as 30 meters (98 ft) into the air.

The duct transports gasoline from a Pemex refinery in the neighboring state of Guanajuato into two containers in Jalisco, each one with a storage capacity of about 70,000 barrels. A Pemex spokesman told Reuters the company had enough inventories to cover five days’ worth of supplies in the area.

Pemex is often the target of vandalism as fuel thieves routinely tap into Mexico’s network of pipelines to steal oil and gas for sale in the black market, causing spills.

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