Another fuel pipeline in Mexico exploded while people were stealing fuel from it, near where a similar blast earlier this month left 119 dead, officials said.

The new blast hit Monday in the central state of Hidalgo, about 50km from the site of the explosion 10 days ago.

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There were no initial reports of anyone being injured in the latest explosion, in the town of San Agustin Tlaxiaca, said state governor Omar Fayad.

Fayad said people had been “milking” the pipeline.

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Footage from the scene showed large flames billowing out of a punctured section of the line.

A similar blast on January 18 in the town of Tlahuelilpan happened after thieves punctured a gasoline pipeline and up to 700 people showed up to fill jugs and other containers.
Illegal pipeline taps are a dangerous but lucrative business whose players include powerful drug cartels and insiders from the state oil company Pemex. Pilfered fuel costs on average about half the price of regular gasoline. It is estimated that such theft costs the country $3 billion a year.

Also, in an Associated Press report, in a related development authorities discovered a tunnel beneath an industrial building in Mexico City that fuel thieves dug to tap gasoline and diesel pipelines.

Mexico discovers thousands of such taps each year, but seldom are they found connected to tunnels and seldom are they located in such heavily populated areas.

The tunnel was several yards long and deep, and had timber framing to prevent collapse. The tunnel accessed four pipelines that carry fuel to a nearby tank farm.

All had illegal taps drilled into them.

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