Legal action by the exploration and production unit of Mexico’s Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) against companies accused of trafficking in stolen natural gas condensate got bigger Tuesday when the company filed another lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston that added defendants Pemex had unsuccessfully sought to add to an existing lawsuit.
“The condensate at issue in this lawsuit is the sovereign property of the United Mexican States (Mexico),” said the filing by Pemex Exploracion Y Produccion (PEP). “It was stolen in Mexico and then transported into and ultimately sold to large end-users in the United States. This lawsuit is directed at some of the individuals and entities who traded in the stolen condensate within the United States prior to the filing of this lawsuit.
“Some of the defendants knew, or at least should have known, they were trading in or transporting stolen condensate. Others were ignorant that they were purchasing stolen goods.”
Named as defendants in the new lawsuit are ConocoPhillips Co., Marathon Petroleum Co. LP, Shell Chemical Co., Shell Trading U.S. Co., Murphy Energy Corp., High Sierra Crude Oil & Marketing LLC, Big Star Gathering Ltd. LLP, St. James Energy Operating Inc., F&M Transportation Inc., Plains Marketing LP, Superior Crude Gathering Inc., FR Midstream Transport LP and Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals LP (Pemex Exploracion Y Produccion versus Murphy Energy Corp. et al, 4:12-cv-01801, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas).
Pemex had sought to add some of the companies — among them ConocoPhillips, the Royal Dutch Shell plc units, Marathon Petroleum Co., Sunoco Partners Marketing & Terminals and FR Midstream — to an existing lawsuit, but the court ruled against the motion on Tuesday, and the new lawsuit followed.
PEP filed the original lawsuit in June 2010 against BASF Corp., BASF Fina Petrochemicals LP, High Sierra Crude Oil & Marketing LLC and others. In May 2011 PEP filed a second lawsuit against Big Star Gathering Ltd. LLP and numerous others (see Daily GPI, June 3, 2011). The two actions were consolidated by the Houston court last October.
The company alleges that cartels have been stealing gas condensate from the Burgos field in northeastern Mexico in the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and Coahuila. The latest lawsuit said, “PEP has suffered substantial injuries as a result of having hundreds of millions of dollars worth of PEP condensate stolen to fuel a black market in the United States.”
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