Mexico’s Pemex Sues US Firms Over Oil Theft

Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex filed a lawsuit in Houston against nine U.S. oil companies accused of buying and selling natural gas stolen by organized criminal groups.

According to Pemex, those companies facilitated black market sales of gas condensate stolen from the Burgos field which stretches across the north Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila.

The company claims that “Some of the defendants knew, or at least should have known, they were trading in or transporting, stolen condensate.”

Much of the Burgos field is in Tamaulipas, which is controlled by the Zetas drug trafficking organization. Pemex said it had lost, at times, almost 40 percent of the production from the field, and that several Pemex officials had been kidnapped and threatened.

In June 2010 Pemex brought a lawsuit against five U.S. companies it accused of buying stolen natural gas condensate from Mexican criminal groups. Several were fined by a Texas court.

Mexican drug cartels increasingly use fuel theft as a source of revenue, particularly in the north of the country, as InSight has reported.