On Thursday, Mexican authorities closed seven gas stations for allegedly selling stolen fuel and diesel. The stolen fuel and diesel is said to come from Pemex, a state-owned petroleum company. Seven gas stations were closed but more are said to be involved.
The news were confirmed by a Pemex official, who revealed authorities had found 14 gas stations selling the fuel and diesel. Half of the stations caught selling are in Puebla while the other seven are in other places. 14 stations are said to be involved but only half were closed by authorities today.
Pemex supplies more than 10,000 gas stations across Mexico and the state-owned petroleum company saw that something was wrong when it looked at the numbers. Pemex knows how much it supplies to each gas station and when it saw that fuel and diesel continued to be sold, despite the company not sending supplies to that station, they quickly began looking at the numbers. According to the official, the gas stations stopped buying fuel and diesel but continued selling it.
The fuel and diesel is reportedly being stolen from Pemex pipelines. The most pipeline thefts are said to be taking place in Puebla, where seven gas stations were found selling it on Thursday. Experts believe the pipeline thefts are so big that the fuel and diesel is now being sold to gas stations.
Earlier this week, Mexico’s Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade said that more than 6,000 illegal pipeline taps had been discovered last year. Authorities are reportedly discovering about 20 illegal pipeline taps every day in 2017.
Fuel theft has become a big problem in Mexico in recent years. In 2012, authorities seized two ships that were carrying stolen diesel. The diesel found in one of the ships was believed to be from Pemex. Recent estimates say Mexico loses about 20,000 barrels every day. In recent years, authorities have started to combat fuel theft and the closing of seven gas stations today is the latest move.