MEXICO CITY, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday he will strengthen security along the 1,600-km state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) pipelines to prevent gasoline theft.
The Mexican government has had an aggressive plan in place since Dec. 27 to combat gas theft from pipelines and refineries, involving 4,900 military personnel.
The plan calls for the closure of the pipelines, which has resulted in gas distribution being made via tanker trucks, a measure that may have reduced gas theft but resulted in gas shortages in some states as well as the Mexican capital.
"There is sufficient gas, diesel and turbochargers, there is no gas shortage in the country. We have sufficient reserves and more gas on its way," the president said.
Lopez Obrador called on all Mexicans to unite in the fight and asked residents living near Pemex pipelines to stop collaborating with gas stealers, because the money made from the illegal activity will now "be available through employment programs and scholarships from the federal government."