It is evident that the series of remotely controlled explosion that hit Mexican gas and oil piplines in the week ending July 16th were more sophisticated than at first reported.
Kevin Hall says that the operation indicated extensive knowledge of Mexico’s energy infrastructure,. Not onyl did they hit gas and oil pipelines they had sufficient knowedge to hit major shut off valves to cut nationwide distribution. He quotes a "US official" (?)
“These are major, very expensive shutoff valves that control the flow of all this petroleum (and natural gas). This wasn’t a round tube in the middle of nowhere.”
The bomb planters knew which side of the valve to strike, ensuring that crude oil did not flow to a nearby refinery and that natural gas did not flow to foreign and Mexican manufacturers in the central Bajio region, the "US official" said.
The Oaxaca based Ejercito Popular Revolucionario (EPR) (Popular Revolutionary Army) has claimed responsibility for the attacks and justified their actuions against the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). It called the July 5 and July 10 pipeline bombings self-defense and demanded the release of two missing members.
So far the Mexican in vestigations have been kept secret, (and it appears aided by "US officials" ) and Mexican media accounts have un helpful and misleading.
Voice of America's VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Mexico City say the attacks remain a mystery as the EPR have never ventured so far North nor had the access to HE explosives and bomb making skills (no visits to the beauty suppliers for Hydrogen peroxide for these terrists it seems) .
He quotes " political analyst" Ana Maria Salazar , who says she remains baffled by the bombings and says she cannot rule out the possibility that a foreign terrorist group might have had a hand in it.
Then , well, well, well ....
"There was a threat posted on a Web site a couple of months ago, supposedly by al-Qaida, that was threatening all the countries providing petroleum to the United States, which included Mexico and Venezuela, which made Hugo Chavez very upset, by the way," she added. "So there is that possibility."
Energy analyst David Shields sees the hand of the powerful and violent drug trafficking cartels, against which President Calderon launched an offensive shortly after taking office last December. He points out that despite good protection to its oil production and export infrastructure, which employs missile-equipped naval vessels to patrol waters near offshore oil platforms, the internal 60,000 kilometres of internal pipelines and pumping structures serving Mexico's own population are much more vulnerable.
Whilst dismissing attacks on export facilities he sees a continued threat to its domestic energy supply network could cripple important industries and discourage foreign investors who are considering placing plants here. "Security experts" on the basis of the evidence of the explosions say the perpetrators knew the attacks would disrupt important industries and probably had information from someone inside PEMEX as to which pipes to bomb for the most effect.
Two things are for sure - someone somewhere is going to boost the Al Quaida connection.... and the price of oil and gas isn't going to go down.