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.
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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Cubans Imagine New, More Prosperous Life Without an Old Foe

News of the historic shift in US-Cuban relations echoed quickly through the Spanish colonial plazas of Old Havana this week
More

Video Obama Faces Opposition on Cuba

Several legislative obstacles may stand in the way of normal relations with Cuba
More

US Expects January Talks With Cuba

Meeting, that was originally a periodic review of Cuba-US migration, will now include talks on restoring diplomatic relations
More

Brazil's Rousseff Pledges to Tighten Operations at Petrobras

She urges Brazilians not to lose faith in oil producer, which is mired in a corruption scandal
More

Colombia to Print Garcia Marquez Banknotes in Tribute to Writer

Currency to honor country's most celebrated writer, who died in April and who is renowned as the father of magical realism storytelling
More

US-Cuba Trade Could Grow Significantly

Analysts say US exports to Cuba could eventually hit $5.9 billion annually, while Havana's exports to the US could reach $6.7 billion
More