Pemex, Mexico’s national oil company, has announced that four people were killed in the fire that broke out on its Abkatun Alpha Permanente platform last Wednesday, 1 April. The company also states that as of 4 April, after a staff recount, three workers remain missing.
According to the company, the fire started in the dehydration and pumping area of the shallow-water platform, which is located in the Bay of Campeche, offshore Mexico. Pemex also states that investigators from the Mexican Attorney General’s Office; the Security, Energy and Environment Agency; and the Labor and Social Welfare Secretariat are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze.
Survivors report that the fire engulfed the platform, causing an evacuation. Pemex transported some 300 workers to neighbouring platforms. Reports state that 16 people were injured, six of whom remain in hospital. Two are said to be in a serious condition in a burns unit in Mexico City.
Abkatun Alpha Permanente is a processing platform, so it was possible to turn feeder lines off, avoiding a major oil spill. A specialised vessel is dealing with some minor seepage caused by the accident.
Of the four workers that died, one was a Pemex employee, one was from a contractor, Cotemar, and the other two are still to be identified. Of the missing workers, one is Pemex staff, and two are Cotemar employees.
Pemex director-general, Emilio Lozoya said the accident “would have a minimal impact on production”. Petroleum from nearby wells will be redirected to other processing platforms.