News / Americas

Blast Rocks Mexico's Pemex Building

Paramedics wheel an injured person to a helicopter at the parking lot of the state-run oil company Pemex after an explosion in Mexico City, January 31, 2013.
Paramedics wheel an injured person to a helicopter at the parking lot of the state-run oil company Pemex after an explosion in Mexico City, January 31, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Greg Flakus
— Mexican officials are searching for answers after an explosion at the Mexico City headquarters of the state-run Pemex oil company killed at least 32 people. More than 100 others were injured.

The blast late Thursday shattered the lower floors of the company's 54-story tower in the capital. Ambulances and rescue crews arrived as workers streamed out of the building, which was shrouded in smoke. Initial reports indicate that the explosion occurred somewhere in the basement or in the basement of an adjacent building, but Mexican Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong says a complete investigation will have to wait.

He says the priority now is to search for people who may still be trapped in the lower part of the Pemex building and recover the bodies of those who have been killed. He says federal and city agencies as well as private relief organizations are coordinating their work at the site.
 
  • Rescue workers search for victims at the headquarters of state-owned Mexican oil giant Pemex in Mexico City following a blast inside the building, January 31, 2013.
  • Rescue workers carry an injured survivor after an explosion in a building at Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX complex, in Mexico City, January 31, 2013.
  • Relatives of Pemex's employees wait for information of their family members outside Pemex hospital in Azcapotzalco in Mexico City, January 31, 2013.
  • The Minister of the Interior, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong (C) addresses a press conference at the headquarters of state-owned Mexican oil giant Pemex in Mexico City following a blast inside the building, January 31, 2013.
  • An explosion rocked the skyscraper, leaving up to 25 dead and 101 injured, as a plume of black smoke billowed from the 54-floor tower, January 31, 2013.
  • A worker walks past debris piled outside the headquarters of state-owned oil giant Pemex in Mexico City, January 31, 2013.
  • Shattered windows are seen on one side of the headquarters of state oil giant Pemex in Mexico City, January 31, 2013.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto visited the site in the evening to survey the damage and the relief effort. He issued a statement of condolence to the families of the dead and said he has ordered an investigation into the cause of the blast.

Pemex, which is shorthand for Petroleos Mexicanos, is the state-owned oil company set up after the country nationalized foreign oil operations in 1938. The heavily taxed profits of the company cover about a third of the Mexican federal government's budget.

Pemex has suffered a number of serious accidents in recent years, including an explosion at a Pemex natural gas plant in northern Mexico in September that killed 30 people.

This latest incident also comes at a time when politicians are debating proposed reforms that would allow more foreign investment in Pemex projects. Nationalists have opposed almost any such investment as a possible move toward privatizing the company.

Although Pemex is one of the largest companies in the world, measured by total market value, its production has fallen in recent years as old fields play out. The company also has come under criticism for corruption and inefficiency. President Pena Nieto says he has no intention of privatizing Pemex, but he does seek some opening to private investment to help modernize the company.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Jailed American Aims to Leave Cuba 'Dead or Alive'

In Havana after visiting Alan Gross, attorney Scott Gilbert say his client has lost some vision in his right eye, walks with a limp due to hip problems, has lost a tooth and is 50 kilograms lighter than at the time of his arrest
More

Oldest Living Pro Ballplayer Dead at 102

Conrado Marrero's grandson confirmed the death, which came just two days before the centenarian's 103rd birthday
More

Summit to Protect Oceans Opens

Oceans called fundamental to life
More

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is People's 'Most Beautiful' Woman

Oscar winner, 31, lauded for role in '12 Years A Slave' says she 'never dreamed' she would be praised for her looks and land on cover of weekly magazine
More

Violent Protests Erupt Near Rio's Tourist Attractions

The rioting was sparked after word spread that the body of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, a dancer on Brazil's Globo television network, had been discovered
More

Russia Expels Canadian Diplomat

Reports say first secretary's expulsion in Moscow is in retaliation for deportation of Russian military attache from Russian Embassy in Ottawa
More