New Safety Program Cuts Pemex Pipeline Leaks 37% in 2005

Mexico's state oil company Pemex reduced the number of leaks on its pipeline network by 37% in 2005 compared to the previous year through the implementation of a safety, health and environmental protection program, Pemex said in a statement, without giving figures.

The program will be extended to all the company's facilities during 2006 until reaching "optimal and sustainable performance" in the medium and long term, the statement said.

Pemex did not disclose the amount to be invested in the program this year, but investments focused on maintaining and improving Pemex's pipeline network are considered a high priority due to a recent slew of accidents, mainly in Veracruz state, Pemex officials have said.

Pemex's maintenance system is based on international standards and designed to reduce the time between the inspection and repair of pipelines, the statement said.

Pemex's new program has identified the main risk factors and common accidents that affect its pipeline network, the statement said. Many such accidents are caused by third parties such as construction companies or force majeure events in the geographic areas where the pipelines are located.

The company plans to implement preventative measures and inform the local population to reduce such accidents as well as integrate its new pipeline monitoring system to gather information, detect leaks faster and prioritize pipelines for regular inspections, the statement said.

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