Workers return to Mexico’s Pemex HQ after blast that killed 37

February 8, 2013

PemexLos Angeles Times, 2/7/2013

Workers at Mexico’s state-run oil company have begun returning to the job — some apprehensively — amid official declarations of back-to-normal conditions at the headquarters that suffered a deadly work-hours blast last week.

Some workers expressed concern and doubt over the government’s initial explanation that the blast was caused by an accumulation of gas ignited possibly by an electrical spark, while others declined to discuss the topic or said evidence pointing to an accidental gas explosion seemed strong.

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Will blast at Mexico oil company shift opinions on privatization?

February 6, 2013

energy - oil_rigThe Christian Science Monitor, 2/5/2013

A buildup of gas in the basement provoked the explosion that ripped through four floors of Mexico’s state-owned oil company, killing 37 people and injuring more than 100. That’s the latest assessment of the cause of last Thursday’s tragedy at the 52-story tower housing the corporate offices of Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, according to Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam. A spark caused by maintenance workers ignited the gas, the source of which is not yet known, he said.

The explosion comes as Mexico gears up for a heated battle over the fate of Pemex, created when President Lázaro Cárdenas expropriated foreign oil companies and nationalized the industry in 1938. The company remains a powerful symbol of sovereignty, despite also possessing a reputation for corruption and graft.

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Mexico Pemex blast blamed on build-up of gas

February 5, 2013

pemex2BBC News, 2/5/2013

A deadly blast at the headquarters of the Mexican state oil company Pemex was caused by a build-up of gas, the attorney general has said. Jesus Murillo Karam said no traces of explosives were found at the site in Mexico City. He said experts believed an electrical fault had caused a spark that detonated the leaking gas last Thursday. The death toll from the blast has risen to 37. Several lower floors collapsed in the explosion. More than 100 people are being treated in hospital, many of them injured by falling masonry.

Mr Murillo Karam said the source of the gas was still being investigated, although it is believed methane gas may have leaked from ducts beneath the building or from the sewer system. “There are several possible sources,” he added. “This explosion… generated an effect on the structures of the floors of the building, first pushing them up and then causing them to fall, and that was the primary cause of deaths in the building,” he said.

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Mexico Still Seeking Answers Days After Deadly Pemex Blast

February 4, 2013

Pemex LogoBloomberg, 2/3/2013

The search for the cause of a blast that destroyed three floors of a building at Petroleos Mexicanos’s headquarters and killed at least 34 people entered a fourth day, as investigators toiled ahead of a self-imposed deadline for finding an answer.

“In a few hours, a day or two, but no later,” we’ll have update on the certainty of the cause of the blast, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, said Feb 1.

The nation’s deadliest explosion since a mine accident in 2006 comes as President Enrique Pena Nieto, who took office Dec. 1, plans to submit a bill to increase private investment in the energy industry and lower taxes on Pemex, the nation’s largest company by revenue and the world’s fourth-biggest crude producer.

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Death Toll in Mexico City Explosion at 32

February 1, 2013

energy - oil_rigThe New York Times, 2/1/2013

The sudden explosion at the headquarters of Mexico’s state-owned oil company killed at least 32 people and injured 121, officials said on Friday, a day after the powerful blast shattered windows, shook the ground and sent thousands of employees fleeing into a panicked downtown.

“You pull all of this together and you say, well, if they can’t even guarantee safety in their own building, their own headquarters, what does that tell us about the company?” said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “It tells us there are things seriously wrong there. It tells you things need to be seriously shaken up.”

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Mexico rescue workers search for survivors after Pemex blast kills 25

February 1, 2013

PemexReuters, 2/1/2013

Emergency services worked into the early hours of Friday to find people trapped in rubble under state oil company Pemex’s headquarters in Mexico City after an explosion that killed at least 25 people and injured more than 100.

Scenes of confusion and chaos at the downtown tower dealt yet another blow to Pemex’s image as Mexico’s new president courts outside investment for the 75-year-old monopoly.

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