This is a bit of a detour from what we cover here on CleanTechnica much of the time, but seems a fitting follow up to our earlier article on the riots in Mexico that followed a large reduction in gasoline/petrol subsidies.
That move by the government of Mexico to greatly reduce fuel subsidies was a necessity (more or less) owing to the rapidly declining rate of extraction at important state-owned oil fields, but it nonetheless proved to be the last straw for some in the country, who simply couldn’t afford to continue purchasing “needed” quantities of fuel, and thus probably had to deal with transportation problems and employment problems that accompany a lack of reliable transportation.
In relation to this, I recently came across the news that criminal gangs in Mexico are currently stealing around 27,000 barrels worth of gasoline and diesel fuels a day from the state-owned oil company Pemex. This fuel presumably then gets sold onwards to those who want it at lower-than-market pricing — which presumably helps to win favor with the locals in the territories of some of the gangs in question.
The situation as a whole makes for an interesting example of the non-linear way that the collapse of economically recoverable fossil fuels is likely to play out. The lack of affordable fuel results directly in an increase in theft (something that is often quite dangerous — there are regular reports in the news of deaths during theft as a result of fires and interactions with security forces), which itself results in increased costs for the oil producers, which further drives the price up, to some degree or other.
With regard to “increased costs,” Pemex released a public statement recently on the matter of increasing theft. It read: “Specialized personnel are carrying out the work for the elimination of this clandestine theft.”
As oil extraction, and access to refined products, becomes a more expensive proposition over the coming decades in many parts of the world it seems likely that theft and conflict with criminal gangs, and also with other countries, will become more of a factor in the determination of oil prices. In particular, more of a factor with regard to local prices (in many places).
That reality is likely one of the primary reasons that a number of militaries around the world are showing themselves as being more willing to embrace renewables than political “leaders and others” in those countries.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t security problems that would/will accompany a large-scale reliance on renewables — clearly, there are — simply that fossil fuel reliance is going to become increasingly difficult and expensive over the coming decades, and diversification will likely provide advantages to those who can afford it.
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