Financial Times | 24 May 2017:
Criminal gangs cost Mexican state oil company $1bn a year through stolen petrol.
José Antonio González Anaya, the turnround economist at the helm of Pemex, flips open his iPad and pores over footage shot by a drone.
Taken at midnight in central Mexico some months back, the grainy images reveal a line of 148 trucks queueing up to siphon fuel from an illegal pipeline tap — a stark illustration of the sheer scale of Mexico’s fuel theft phenomenon that is costing the state oil group at least $1bn a year.
The problem is not new but it has escalated 2,000 per cent in the past decade. The bulk of the stolen fuel winds up at Pemex’s own petrol stations.
Now Mr González Anaya — who studied economics and engineering at MIT, did a doctorate in economics at Harvard, and is a self-confessed “big data type” — is tracing fuel inventories and tracking invoices to cross-check where stolen fuel is turning up.
Mexico’s government has already sent 2,000 troops to the worst affected area. Mr González Anaya’s bet is that an additional crackdown on the stations peddling stolen fuel will lead them to demand far higher prices for the illegal merchandise so that the numbers no longer add up for the criminals supplying it.
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