Mexico City – State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos said Wednesday it has sued several more companies in U.S. federal court for allegedly purchasing stolen fuel.
Pemex, Mexico's largest enterprise, said in a statement that it brought this latest suit on May 29 before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, based in Houston.
The company had earlier filed suit before that same court in June 2010 to combat "the theft and smuggling of natural gas condensates from its facilities in northern Mexico, particularly at the natural gas fields in the Burgos Basin," the company said.
Pemex had previously accused five companies - the U.S. division of Germany's BASF, Murphy Energy, Trammo Petroleum, Valley Fuels and US Petroleum Depot - of "participating in and encouraging" the smuggling of stolen fuel and the suit now has been widened to include Plains All American Pipeline, SemCrude and Western Refining.
Pemex's goal is to prevent natural gas condensates from Mexico from being smuggled into the United States and illegally sold there, primarily in Texas, adding that only the company and its subsidiaries are authorized to sell Mexican fuel north of the border.
In the latest lawsuit, the Mexican oil monopoly said it is seeking to "recoup damages" from the companies it accuses of conspiring in the illegal activity, the statement said.
In recent years, several organized-crime gangs have stolen fuel from fields in the Burgos region, which encompasses parts of the northern border states of Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas and Coahuila.
The criminals either steal the gas condensates from storage facilities or hijack tanker trucks and then move the fuel across the border into the United States.
According to Pemex, roughly $300 million worth of gas condensates extracted from the Burgos Basin has been stolen since 2006.
Mexico is one of the world's largest oil producers, while roughly 30 percent of the government's budget comes from revenue generated by Pemex.