4 dead, 16 hurt in oil platform fire in Gulf of Mexico

At least four people were killed and 16 workers injured when a fire erupted early Wednesday on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico belonging to Mexico’s state petroleum giant Pemex, the company said in a statement.

The company said one of those who died when the fire broke out at dawn at the Abkatun Permanente platform was a contractor for the Mexican oil services company Cotemar.

Pemex said on Twitter that it was using eight firefighting boats to battle the blaze.

Two of the injured were in serious condition and 300 workers were evacuated from the Abkatun platform, located in the Campeche Sound, near the coast of the states of Campeche and Tabasco.

A spokesman for emergency services in nearby Ciudad del Carmen, however, put the number of injured at 45, Reuters reports.

The Abkatun-Pol-Chuc offshore oilfields, where the dewatering and pumping platform is located, produced under 300,000 barrels per day in 2013, a decrease of more than half from a peak in the mid-1990s of 700,000 barrels, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

At least 37 people were killed in a blast at the company’s Mexico City headquarters in 2013, according to Reuters.

In 2007, at the Kerrick Kab 121 platform further up the coast, 21 workers were killed in a spill of crude oil and a natural gas leak, Diario de Yucatan reports. The accident was blamed on intense waves that hit the tower and caused the valve assembly exploded.

The worst spill from a platform in Mexico occurred in 1970 when a drilling rig, the Ixtoc 1, exploded, spilling 140 million gallons, the newspaper reports. It took nine months from PEMEX and several U.S. to bring the the spill under control and clean up the disaster..

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