Offshore Accident Claims Five FatalitiesBy Pedro Alcalá | Wed, 08/25/2021 - 11:54
An explosion at KMZ’s E-Ku-A2 processing platform last Sunday afternoon caused the deaths of five workers. Six more were injured while at least two remain missing.
PEMEX first reported on Sunday that the accident had caused injuries to five workers and there were no fatalities. The fire caused by the explosion was controlled within a couple of hours. By Monday, the NOC had declared that one PEMEX worker had died, while three others had been injured and one was experiencing a nervous breakdown. Additionally, three Cotemar workers had been injured and three had disappeared. Two workers from the company BMCI (Bufete de Monitoreo de Condiciones e Integridad) had also been reported as missing. During Monday’s daily morning press conference President López Obrador said “unfortunately, it was not a good weekend, there were damages and what hurts the most is the loss of life due to hurricane Grace. Yesterday, there was a fire on a PEMEX platform. So far, the report we have is that a PEMEX worker has lost his life, there are others injured and missing.” By the end of Monday, however, PEMEX Director Octavio Romero Oropeza reported that four of the Cotemar workers had died, raising the death toll to five.
Previous reports have speculated on the root cause of this and other recent accidents, blaming the government’s austerity policies. However, Romero Oropeza denied this information, making clear that a lack of investment on maintenance was not what caused the explosion. He detailed that, in fact, investment in maintenance has increased during this administration and that Cotemar and BMCI workers were present in that platform to perform routine maintenance work on its power generation and compression facilities. Romero Oropeza also said that equipment failure was not the cause of the explosion either, and that the root cause of the accident is still being investigated (in his latest statement made this morning, Romero Oropeza declared that the explosion was caused by a gas leak). Romero Oropeza also toured and inspected the burned remains of the platform’s topside facilities.
KMZ is one of PEMEX´s most important production assets, and as a result of the explosion it has generated immediate losses. An analysis made by El Universal claims that PEMEX is losing 421,000b/d of its production as a direct result of the accident. This is equivalent to a loss of US$26.2 million per day. This only takes into account the price of oil; another factor that makes this so difficult for PEMEX is the impact on its profit margin, since the oil produced at KMZ is produced at the cheapest rates due to the amount of existing infrastructure already in place.