The Houston Chronicle reports that the same group that claimed responsibility for four bomb attacks against Mexico’s oil pipelines in early July is now claiming responsibility for the six Sept. 10 explosions of pipelines in Veracruz and Tlaxcala states.
The group, the Popular Revolutionary Army, or EPR, is said to be seeking the release of two of its members held by the Mexican government. If a related aim is to bring the Mexican state to its knees, they’ve chosen their strategy well. It turns out Mexico is particularly vulnerable to an attack on its oil infrastructure.
Based on this vulnerability, John Robb of Global Guerillas all but predicted back in December 2006 that Mexico would see attacks of this kind:
Indeed, this Reuters headline says it all: “Mexico Pipeline Attacks Raise Fear of ‘New Nigeria’.” (For more on the situation in Nigeria, see here).
Why is oil revenue so important for Mexico? In a July 10 article for WPR, Jonathan Roeder explained:
As a result, oil wells are running dry and production is dropping. If current trends continue, Mexico, today a major supplier of the United States, may become a net oil importer within a decade, according to experts.
“Right now you’re already seeing that oil production is starting to fall,” said Jonathan Heath, chief economist for HSBC Mexico. “And it’s starting to fall . . . because necessary exploration and investments haven’t been carried out.”
If other sources of revenue are not found — and quickly — the nation could face financial crisis.
Mexico’s national energy policy doesn’t help the situation. For more on this, see the Mexico section of this article (pdf file) by Sydney Weintraub of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. As Weintraub explains, private-sector energy investment is prohibited by the country’s constitution. In addition, the Mexican government has been heavily drawing on state-run oil company Pemex’s revenue to finance spending. The result: declining oil production and a lack of money for new exploration.