February 18, 2015 / 2:10 AM / 5 years ago

Mexico Pemex to stop moving gasoline via pipeline to curb theft

MEXICO CITY, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Mexican state oil company Pemex said on Tuesday that it will transport mostly processed gasoline and diesel fuel through its pipelines in a bid to cut down on rampant fuel theft.

Pemex says it will finish processing the fuels at its storage terminals according to the plan, which will not be fully implemented nationwide for two months, a spokesperson said. Unfinished fuels are not suitable for use in cars and industrial plants.

The move is aimed at dissuading the country’s motorists and industrial users from buying stolen gasoline from non-authorized sellers. The oil company said it lost 17 billion pesos ($1.14 billion) last year due to fuel theft, more than double what it lost in 2013.

Last month, several sectors suffered fuel shortages as a consequence of fuel robbery through illegal taps in its sprawling network of pipelines, which often result in explosions and spills.

Pemex has admitted that workers, former employees, drug cartels and business people have been involved in the thefts. ($1 = 14.9090 Mexican pesos) (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez and David Alire Garcia)

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