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Mexico Pipeline Blast

Mexico Pipeline Blast - In the wake of an oil pipeline explosion in Mexico that killed 28 people and sent hundreds fleeing their homes after thieves tried to siphon crude oil, oil safety experts said a similar disaster is unlikely but could nevertheless happen in the United States.

They said that if thieves were determined to steal oil from a pipeline in the United States, it would be nearly impossible to stop them.

"Anything could happen. We have pipelines everywhere and no one is watching after them. And it's a tremendous amount of pipeline," Theo Theofanous, a professor of chemical and mechanical engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the director of the Center for Risk Studies and Safety, told AOL News today in a phone interview.

Mexico Pipeline Blast

With more than 165,000 miles of pipeline in the United States, it could be difficult to prevent an incident such as the one in Mexico, where authorities say thieves -- likely members of one of the country's powerful drug cartels -- accidentally set off the deadly blast in an attempt to steal crude oil from a state-run pipeline.

In the small town of San Martin Texmelucan, where Sunday's blast occurred, some victims were burned alive, and residents reported seeing "rivers of fire" as the crude flowed down the city's streets, according to El Universal.

That kind of attack is unlikely to happen in the U.S., experts say, if only because the cartels that have been striking Mexico's pipelines are not operating north of the border, at least not with the same impunity.

Mexico Pipeline Blast

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