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Official: Gas leak caused Mexico oil company blast

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN Published: February 5, 2013
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Until now, virtually all the accidents had hit its petroleum infrastructure, not its office buildings.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has pledged to open the oil behemoth to more private and foreign investment, setting off warnings among leftists about the privatization of an enterprise seen as one of the pillars of the Mexican state. Pena Nieto has provided few details of the reform he will propose but denies any plan to privatize Pemex.

Murillo said there not yet any evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the disaster, but the possibility of criminal charges remained open.

That disaster was a major setback to a safety record that had been improving following a series of incidents in the 1980s and 1990s, according to company figures. The number of accidents per million hours worked dropped by more than half, from 1.06 in 2005 to 0.42 in 2010. That is in line with the international average of about 0.43 per million, according to the U.K.-based International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, which does not independently verify company numbers.

But Pemex acknowledged in a report that starting in late 2011, a series of smaller blasts and fires, mainly at refineries and petrochemical plants, had “seriously impacted” its safety rate. It said the rate of injuries per million hours had risen to 0.54.

As part of the federal government, Pemex is entirely responsible for inspecting its own buildings. Murillo said investigators were looking into the records of building inspections, and why they had not discovered the accumulation of gas.


Read the rest of the story on Oklahoman.com
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