According to the Mexico’s state company Pemex a fire at an offshore oil platform in Mexico killed five workers and injured six. The accident occurred Sunday, August 22, following maintenance work on the platform installed in the Bay of Campeche, in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The accident killed a Pemex employee and four workers from Cotemar, a contractor.
The fire took place at the E-Ku-A2 platform in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field in the Bay of Campeche.
“The search to find the missing persons is underway,” said the director of the state-owned company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Octavio Romero, during a press conference, specifying that one of the injured was in a bad state. An investigation was opened to determine the causes of the fire, which was brought under control an hour after its outbreak.
According to Bloomberg oil production fell by more than 400,000 bbl/day as a result of the accident.
If Pemex reduces oil production, then that could limit supplies of ethane for its ethylene plants. All of Mexico’s crackers rely on ethane as a feedstock and Mexico gets most of its domestic ethane from the associated gas produced from its oil wells.
Over the years, Mexico’s oil production has fallen, causing domestic ethane supplies to drop as well.
The country now has an ethane shortage and relies on imports from the US to make up a portion of the deficit.
Mexico lacks the capacity to import more ethane from the US, so additional shipments cannot offset the loss of any production caused by the fire.
It is the second fire to hit Pemex during the past two months.
In July, a pipeline that fed into the Ku-C platform wells in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field had ruptured on 2 July. The company estimates that the accident affected oil production by 5m bbl/day.
The two accidents raise questions about whether Pemex can reverse the declines in the country’s oil production and increase domestic ethane supplies to its petrochemical industry.
(Source: ICS/capital.fr/Meretmarine/ Le Matin – Image: Fire on Pemex platform E-Ku-A2/Sputnik)