Mexico's Pemex boosts gasoline imports in wake of shortages
MEXICO CITY, July 8 (Reuters) - Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex is ramping up gasoline imports and boosting domestic production at two major refineries after fuel shortages led to long lines at gas stations in several states this week.
Pemex announced an "extraordinary" gasoline import surge of 75,000 barrels per day (bpd) and company data showed that was on top of gasoline imports that totaled 370,000 bpd in May.
Since Monday, the company has not responded to requests for more information.
Pemex has blamed the shortage on an increase in illegal taps on gasoline pipelines, a long-standing problem but one that is on pace to set a record this year.
Pemex said in a statement on Monday that the number of illegal taps so far this year total 2,813, already two-thirds of the year-end figure last year.
Francisco Fuentes, Pemex's deputy director of storage and distribution, told broadcaster Televisa on Monday that the theft is particularly bad at pipelines near two main refineries, Salamanca and Cadereyta.
The refineries supply much of the fuel needs of Mexico's second and third biggest cites, Guadalajara and Monterrey, where gas station lines have been most visible.
The company also said it has finished maintenance at its Salamanca refinery in central Guanajuato state which will allow fuel output to grow by 42,000 bpd.
Meanwhile, maintenance at the Cadereyta refinery, in northern Nuevo Leon state, is set to wrap up next week, which would allow the plant to ramp up fuel output of some 85,000 bpd. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Ana Isabel Martinez)
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