Publicado: Sol, Enero 20, 2019
Financiera | Por Marilu Caballero

Twenty die as Mexico oil pipeline explodes

Twenty die as Mexico oil pipeline explodes

At least 67 people were killed in central Mexico after a ruptured gasoline pipeline blew up Friday evening, the country's health minister said Saturday.

Staff of Pemex, Petroleos Mexicanos, works the area of a oil pipeline explosion in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo state, Mexico, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.

"I urge the entire population not to be complicit in fuel theft", saidHidalgo Governor Fayad. Fayad said at least 76 others were injured in the blast.

Separate television footage showed the pipeline gushing a fountain of fuel earlier in the day and dozens of people at the site trying to fill buckets and plastic containers. Gangs of fuel thieves like these reportedly opened illegal taps an average of 42 taps per day across the country previous year, with a total of 12,581 taps in the first 10 months of 2018.

"The people already know what they're getting into with this", he said as he wrapped a blanket tightly around himself against the cold. Estrada said that he was looking for his 13-year-old son, Hugo Olvera Bautista, who was at the pipeline when it exploded.

The horrific scene unfolded north of Mexico City after locals had gathered around a ruptured Pemex pipeline to collect fuel that was spilling out.

The priority, he said, was to eradicate the social problems and lack of opportunities that had prompted people to put their lives at risk to get at the fuel - a few liters of which are worth more than the daily minimum wage in Mexico.

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Mexico's president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has launched a major crackdown on fuel theft, which the government says cost the country more than $3bn previous year.

Authorities said the explosion was caused by illegal taps in the line set up by thieves attempting to siphon fuel.

It is now likely to further intensify efforts to crack down on the illegal taps and focus attention on Mr Lopez Obrador's fight against the illegal fuel theft industry. Thieves drilled about 12,581 illegal taps in the first 10 months of 2018 and the country has deployed 3,200 marines to guard pipelines and refineries.

Mr Fayad added: "What happened today in Tlahuelilpan should not be repeated".

The explosion occurred amid gas stations in several states and the country's country's capital running dry for almost two weeks.

Lopez Obrador has said his decision to close pipelines has greatly reduced fuel theft, but the death toll has raised questions about potentially unintended consequences.

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