Venezuelans fed up with fuel shortages have begun tapping into the country’s crude oil pipelines to distill their own petrol as the country’s economic demise accelerates. The emerging practice was documented by a Reuters investigation that found desperate Venezuelans breaking holes in pipes and siphoning off crude oil and diverting it to makeshift rural laboratories. The revelation underscores the severity of the country’s spectacular economic and infrastructure collapse. Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserves in the world, however biting US sanctions and mismanagement by the state oil company nationalised by the socialist government has resulted in a dive in production. Venezuelans, who once enjoyed essentially free gasoline thanks to government subsidies, now spend days in petrol queues that snake through the streets. One man, mechanic Daniel Vásquez, told The Telegraph from the capital Caracas in April after sleeping in his car overnight waiting for petrol: “We have to be watching closely for when the line forms, some people find out that gas will arrive, and then we get in line, and then wait for hours or days.” To avoid the queues and make a profit off of the shortages, some have started puncturing pipelines at idled state oil fields, installing their own smaller tubes into the pipes. From there, the tubes transport the oil to small, homemade refineries where the substance must be distilled and refined. “This is the El Palito refinery,” a man proudly proclaims in an online video circulating in Venezuela circles on social media. The video shows two black canisters over a fire in a barrel with tubes transporting the substance into two other containers and finally into two gas canisters.