MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday that widespread fuel theft extended to oil drilling platforms and he pledged to take actions to alleviate shortages sparked by his crackdown on gasoline thieves.
Lopez Obrador said there had been “acts of sabotage at crude oil drilling platforms,” without providing further details.
“We have identified the problem and we are also going to face it,” he said at a press conference.
In a bid to halt rampant fuel theft, Lopez Obrador has ordered the closure of important fuel pipelines, which has caused shortages at gas stations and concerns of an impact to the economy if the shortfalls are prolonged.
Lopez Obrador said that the government was looking at purchasing an additional 500 tanker trucks to distribute gasoline and that officials were asking private companies to increase fuel imports.
“Very soon things will go back to normal,” he said. “We are on the way to solving the problem in a definitive way.”
Lopez Obrador’s offensive against fuel robbers marks the leftist’s first major effort to tackle entrenched corruption since taking office on Dec. 1.
A poll released last weekend showed the crackdown was polarizing the population, though more people support the measure than oppose it.
Fuel inventories have been accumulating at major oil terminals and Mexico’s freight transport association expects a contingency plan aimed at speeding up gasoline distribution that began over the weekend will help ease bottlenecks.
Reporting by Adriana Barrera and Michael O'Boyle; Editing by Susan Thomas