Mexico is currently facing a mounting crisis due to gasoline shortage. The shortage is a direct result of the government shutting down several key fuel pipelines. The shutdown was decided by the Mexican president Andres Manuel López Obrador to prevent further fuel theft by organized crime groups.
The president blamed gasoline shortages in Mexico City on the sabotage of fuel pipelines, but promised distribution will be normalized soon. López Obrador has made combating fuel theft, which costs public coffers billions of pesos a year, an early priority for his government. Furthermore, he urged motorists to avoid filling up their cars if possible, as the gasoline shortage spread to the nation’s capital, sparking long lines at filling stations.
Instead of utilizing pipelines, the fuel is now distributed in large parts by tanker trucks and trains, causing delays in at least 10 states.
The Mexican military is already deployed to safeguard the country’s most important pipelines. About 4,000 soldiers are tasked with security operations of this kind. President López Obrador announced the deployment of additional 4,000 soldiers to strengthen the surveillance of 1,600 kilometers of pipelines.
Mexico is not the only country in which fuel theft out of oil pipelines is evolving to a major problem. Pipeline operators from many countries are affected, even in Europe, where for instance a father and his son stole fuel worth about a million USD in 2017. For this reason, the upcoming Pipeline Technology Conference will devote a panel discussion titled "Illegal Tapping - Focus Regions, Monitoring and Counter Measures“ and a round table "Pipeline Operator Experience Sharing on Illegal Tapping" to this increasingly important issue.