An explosion and a fire erupted on an offshore oil platform operated by Mexico’s Pemex on Wednesday, killing at least four workers, injuring 16 and forcing 300 to be evacuated.
Eight firefighting vessels with water cannons were deployed to battle the blaze as smoke billowed skyward at the Abkatun A-Permanente platform on the Gulf of Mexico’s Campeche Sound.
The blast took place at 3:40 am local time in the dehydration and pump area of the platform, located off the coast of eastern Campeche state, the ASEA energy safety agency said in a statement.
Some 300 workers were taken to other platforms in the area while the injured were transported to Pemex’s general hospital in Ciudad de Carmen. Two were in serious condition.
President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed condolences to families of the victims and ordered investigation, which ASEA said it would lead.
The Campeche Sound, some 85 kilometers (53 miles) from the coast, contains the two biggest shallow-water oil deposits in Mexico, with 200 platforms extracting 78 percent of the country’s crude.
Analysts said the accident contributed to a rise in crude prices on Wednesday, with the US benchmark surging $2.49 to close at $50.09 a barrel and London prices rising $1.99 to $57.10.