Bloomberg News

Pemex Amends Case Against Shell Claiming Trade in Stolen Gas

February 02, 2012

(Adds lawsuit claims in second paragraph.)

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Petroleos Mexicanos’ production unit filed an amended lawsuit against Shell Chemical Co., Marathon Petroleum Co. and ConocoPhillips Co. alleging they and other U.S. companies traded natural gas condensate stolen from Mexico.

The substance, a mixture of hydrocarbon liquids produced with natural gas that competes with light crude oil, is targeted by Mexican drug cartels, stolen and imported to the U.S. by companies previously sued by Pemex, as the company is known, it said in its complaint.

Shell Chemical, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc; Marathon; and ConocoPhillips, named as defendants in the new complaint, “appear to have been innocent” and dealt in the condensate only after it was laundered, according to Pemex.

“Even absent knowledge or intent, however, the defendants’ use, purchase, and sale of stolen Mexican condensate in the U.S. was without right or title from the Mexican government, and therefore, was wrongful under the laws of Mexico and the U.S.,” Mark Maney, an attorney for Pemex, said in the Jan. 27 amended complaint filed in federal court in Houston.

Rich Johnson, a spokesman for ConocoPhillips, had no immediate comment. A voice-mail message seeking comment about the complaint left on the media line for Shell, wasn’t immediately answered. Shane Pochard, a spokesman for Marathon, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment about the case.

The cases are Pemex Exploracion y Produccion v. BASF 4:10- cv-01997 and Pemex v Big Star Gathering Ltd, 4:11-cv-2019, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).

--Editors: Charles Carter, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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