February 1, 2013

25 die in Mexico oil company office building blast

Michael Weissenstein and Olga r. Rodriguez / The Associated Press

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Firefighters and workers dig for survivors following an explosion at a building next to the 52-story tower of Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, in Mexico City on Thursday.

The Associated Press

"There was a very loud roar. It was very ugly," she said.

Espinoza's co-worker, Tomas Rivera, 32, worked on the ground floor in the building where the explosion occurred and said the force knocked him to the basement, fracturing his wrist and jaw. The injured were taken to two Pemex hospitals and other facilities, including the Red Cross hospital in the Polanco neighborhood near the oil company's headquarters. Relatives huddled in the waiting room for news of their loved ones. Some walked out of meetings with the hospital social worker joyous, while others came out crying.

Lozoya said Pemex operations continue uninterrupted despite the blast and that the company is producing 2.57 million barrels of oil per day.

Pemex, created as a state-owned company in 1938, has nearly 150,000 employees, according to its website, with $111 billion in sales. Pena Nieto, who took office in December, has made Pemex reform the center of his platform, with a plan to pump new investment into a company whose profits feed much of Mexico's federal budget, but which has fallen behind other oil companies in production, technology and exploration.

Shortly before the explosion, Operations Director Carlos Murrieta reported via Twitter that the company had reduced its accident rate in recent years. Most Pemex accidents have occurred at pipeline and refinery installations.

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