Nearly ten years ago, one of this blog’s readers was aware of this,
THE REFINERY RACKET: Mexico’s drug cartels, now hooked on fuel, cripple the country’s refineries
Drug gangs pressure refinery workers to tap the lifeblood of Mexico’s oil industry. One former worker fled the country. One former gang member helps authorities understand the racket.
. . .
Between 2011 and 2016, the number of unauthorized taps discovered on Mexico’s fuel lines nearly quintupled, according to a recent report by the federal auditor. Repair costs surged almost tenfold, to 1.77 billion pesos ($95 million).
A May 2017 study, commissioned by the national energy regulator and obtained by Reuters via a freedom of information request, found that thieves, between 2009 and 2016, had tapped pipelines roughly every 1.4 kms (0.86 mi) along Pemex’s approximately 14,000 km pipeline network.
After decades of poor upkeep, the refineries are bleeding money as well as fuel. In addition to unscheduled outages, which cause big operational losses, maintenance problems have led to fatal accidents, including fires and explosions.