Mexico’s opposition is accusing the government of addressing the issue of fuel theft irresponsibly as supply fears spread to the nation’s capital.
Members of the senate are calling for the newly appointed energy minister Rocio Nahle and Petroleos Mexicanos chief executive Octavio Romero to explain how they will fix fuel distribution amid shortages at gasoline stations in central Mexico, according to Lopez Doriga.
At least six stations in Mexico City ran short of fuel, leading to panic buying, national newspaper Excelsior reported. Fuel shortages are also affecting as many as three Mexico airports, Rodrigo Perez-Alonso, head of the national air transport commission Canaero, said in a tweet.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in an interview with El Financiero Bloomberg TV, said the fight against illegal pipeline taps by fuel thieves known as “huachicoleros” will take some time, and that the gasoline supply would begin to normalize bit by bit.
“We have enough gasoline, there’s no problem, it’s a matter of distribution,” Lopez Obrador said. In the worst of cases pipelines could reopen, he said.
The mounting crisis, which is compounded by congestion at Mexico’s ports and refinery closures, could not come at a worse time for Pemex and the Energy Ministry. In the past two months, they have let go some of their most experienced executives to make way for their replacements under the government of Lopez Obrador.
Lopez Obrador has sought to reduce soaring gasoline theft by using more tanker trucks to transport fuel while increasing pipeline surveillance and sending the army to Pemex’s refineries and fuel terminals. Mexico’s newly elected president said that the plan was advancing and pipelines were reopening. Pemex said in a statement on its Twitter account that there is enough gasoline in Mexico City to meet demand.