/
News Article

PEMEX Pipeline Explodes in Veracruz

By Anamary Olivas | Mon, 07/25/2022 - 12:25

A PEMEX pipeline in Veracruz exploded due to a liquefied petroleum (LP) gas leak, caused by an alleged clandestine theft in the municipalities of Tuxtlilla and Chacaltianguis. The explosion killed one person and left two seriously injured, as reported by Erick Cisneros Burgos, Minister, the Government of Veracruz.

 

The authorities activated security and rescue plans after the explosion occurred, evacuating 255 people as flames rose into the sky. Cisneros promised that those responsible would be punished and also asked the population to be more active in reporting acts of fuel theft, called huachicoleo in the Mexican context. Local media reported that more than 1,500 people have been displaced from Tuxtilla, leaving the town virtually empty.

 

Veracruz’s Minister of Civil Protection, Guadalupe Osorno Maldonado, said that the explosion was reported in the community of Torno Largo, near the highway that goes from Chacaltianguis to Tlacojalpan. The fire was brought under control after PEMEX closed the pipeline valves. Following this, fired in Torno Largo and the community of Moyota were put out.

 

Osorno specified that the affected area suffers from very weak reception. Therefore, communication was complicated. At the time of the accident, many were working outside. The authorities confirmed three people were seriously injured with burns across their bodies. Two vehicles burned out as well. Later, one of the victims died, confirmed the local authorities that organized the evacuation.

 

Locals reported that there were several explosions. Consequently, as a security measure, local officials asked the entire population to evacuate to Tlacojalpan, Veracruz, both municipalities in the Papaloapan Basin region.

 

Huachicoleo has not only claimed several lives as a dangerous activity, it has also taken a toll on PEMEX’s finances. The NOC reported that it has lost around US$1.1 billion a year due to fuel thefts in recent history.

 

Since the beginning of his administration, President López Obrador has proclaimed his battle against huachicoleros, who managed to continue their illicit activities. The president assured that the National Guard and the Secretary of Defense (SEDENA) are working to remedy the issue. Nevertheless, López Obrador acknowledged that the problem persists, as it is a deeply rooted activity for criminal groups.

Anamary Olivas Anamary Olivas Journalist & Industry Analyst