CCTV America investigates Mexican region known for oil thefts

World Today

The Mexican government made moves earlier this year to open the country’s lucrative oil market to foreign investors. But as global firms plot their entry, Pemex, the state-run oil company, is looking to curb costly oil thefts. CCTV America’s Mike Kirsch reported this story from Monterrey, Mexico.

CCTV America investigates the Mexican region known for oil thefts

The Mexican government made moves earlier this year to open the country's lucrative oil market to foreign investors. But as global firms plot their entry, Pemex, the state-run oil company, is looking to curb costly oil thefts. CCTV America's Mike Kirsch reported this story from Monterrey, Mexico.

Mexico’s wake-up call that it had a problem with oil thieves came in 2010, when a horrific wall of smoke and fire was ignited along a 5-kilometer, or 3.1-mile, stretch of oil pipeline east of Mexico City by individuals reportedly attempting to steal oil, who had inadvertently ruptured the pipeline sparking an inferno through the town of San Martin Texmelucan.

In addition to several deadly fires triggered by oil thieves, there have been dozens of oil spills after botched attempts to tap into oil lines that have contaminated rivers and local drinking water across Mexico.

Most of these of illegal oil taps are said to be the work of two of the country’s most notorious criminal organizations, The Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas or “Zs.”

They’re accused of stealing more than $1 billion in oil just this year alone from Pemex.

CCTV recently traveled to what’s considered ground zero for oil thefts in Mexico in and around the region of Monterrey, in the state of Nuevo Leon, and the town of Reynosa on the US-Mexico border, in the state of Tamaulipas. Following Mexico’s recent oil reforms, this region has been opened up for the first time to foreign energy companies for hydraulic fracturing for billions in shale gas reserves discovered here.