The Associated Press reported that the number of illegal taps drilled into Mexican oil and gas pipelines to steal fuel has doubled so far in 2013. The report indicates that there may be a thriving industry based on selling stolen fuel in Mexico and possibly exporting it. Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico’s state-owned oil company, discovered 1,421 illegal fuel taps in the first six months of this year, which is almost twice the 722 taps found in the same period of 2012. According to the report, thieves stole the equivalent of 2.7 million barrels of fuel, equal to more than one day of the company’s annual oil output. The company has estimated that such thefts cost it about $5 billion a year. Furthermore, the illegal fuel taps frequently result in explosions or fires, such as a recent pipeline explosion that injured seven people on the outskirts of Mexico City. One attempted theft caused an explosion that killed 29 people in December 2010.
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