A serious fire has erupted on a Pemex offshore rig in the Bay of Campeche, Reuters and local news sources report. At least one person has died, with 45 injured, according to local authorities. Nearly 300 people were evacuated, and dramatic images showed a fleet of firefighting boats spraying the burning platform with water. The fire began overnight on the Abaktun Permanente platform, which operates in the waters west of the southern Yucatan Peninsula. Mexico's most oil-rich territories are in the southern Gulf, though the specific deposit involved, the Abkatun-Pol-Chuc offshore complex, produces less than 300,000 barrels of Mexico's roughly 2.3 million bpd output.
Pemex, formally Petróleos Mexicanos, is Mexico's national oil company and the second-largest such enterprise in Latin America, after Brazil's Petrobras. According to a 2013 Reuters report, nearly all of Pemex's profits are taken in taxes by the Mexican government, which has come to rely on this money even as this tax burden limits Pemex's freedom to invest and expand. Pemex has also seen both scandals and serious accidents in the past several years: an explosion at a gas plant killed 30 in 2012, while 37 died in a still-unexplained 2013 blast at the company's Mexico City headquarters. A cause for the current blaze has not yet been proposed, and there is no word yet on whether oil is being released into the Gulf as a result.
Image credit: Diario Presente