By LAURENCE ILIFF
MEXICO CITY -- Mexican state-owned oil company Petroleos
Mexicanos, or Pemex, said Wednesday that at least 29
workers were killed and a number of others injured in a fire at
a natural gas-reception facility in the northern state of
Pemex said seven workers remained hospitalized, one in
serious condition, and seven others were still missing.
The fire broke out in the late morning at a gas-reception
center located on a highway that runs from the northern
city of Monterrey to the US-Mexico border city of Reynosa.
The facility receives natural gas and condensates from the
company's Burgos production complex for transfer to its gas and
petrochemical division, the company
The accident was caused when a large flame was sparked
during maintenance work at a part of the
facility that wasn't in operation, Pemex said on Twitter.
Rescue teams shut down the valves at the facility and Pemex
dispatched a special team of firefighters who worked with local
fire crews, the company said. They contained the fire just
after midday, it said.
The dead included four Pemex employees and 25 people working
for companies doing contract work for Pemex, the company said
via Twitter. The company had earlier put the death toll at
Valves and other equipment were
damaged as a result of the fire, the company said.
Pemex executives in Mexico City were headed to site to
assess the damage.
Pemex has suffered from a persistent shortage of natural gas
this year, forcing industries to cut back on their use of the
fuel and prompting sharp criticism from industry groups.
The company also had issued a series of critical
alerts due to low pressure in the gas pipeline system,
which could damage the network.
The state-run electricity utility Comision Federal de
Electricidad, or CFE, said Friday that the shortage of natural
gas had forced it to use more fuel oil and diesel at its power
Pemex has imported more natural gas in recent months in an
effort to meet rising demand.
In late August, Energy Minister Jordy Herrera outlined a
number of pipeline projects that he said would
eventually provide Mexico with the infrastructure needed to
move gas from where it is produced to where it is needed.
Dow Jones Newswires