MEXICO CITY – State-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said it planned to spend 329.8 million pesos (about $24 million) to repair a pipeline damaged in an explosion last year that killed 30 people in Puebla state.
The funds cover infrastructure work, environmental clean-up, compensation and support in San Martin Texmelucan, a city in central Mexico, Pemex said.
The Pemex pipeline exploded on Dec. 19, 2010, after it was tapped illegally.
More than 50 other people were injured in the explosion, which completely destroyed 32 houses and damaged 83 others.
Investigators suspect that thieves triggered the blast as they illegally extracted fuel from the conduit at pumping station No. 7 in San Martin Texmelucan.
Some 103.4 million pesos ($7.4 million) will be provided as compensation to the families of victims and those who were injured in the blast.
A total of 206.3 million pesos ($14.8 million) will be used to clean up the Atoyac River and nearby canals, as well as for “reforestation and cleaning of soil and land,” and repair of highways, Pemex said.
The city of San Martin Texmelucan received 20 million pesos ($1.4 million) for expansion of a bridge and construction of three pedestrian crossings, Pemex said.
“Security measures have been bolstered in coordination with the state and municipal governments” in the wake of the accident, with drills being held and a public education campaign launched, the state-owned oil company said.
Company officials are “working closely with the Puebla government to continue helping those affected” by the blast and coordinating with state and federal officials to “prevent an incident of this nature from happening again,” Pemex said.
Theft of fuel from Pemex pipelines, known in Mexico as “milking,” is common, with both individuals and organized crime groups involved in the illegal activity.
Of the 712 illegal taps detected on Pemex pipelines in 2010, more than 100 were reported on the pipeline that runs through Puebla. EFE