Second fire hits Pemex’s Ciudad Madero refinery

The second fire within a month broke out on Aug. 8 at Petroleos Mexicanos’s (Pemex) 190,000-b/d Francisco I. Madero refinery in Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas.

An explosion and ensuing fire occurred after a gas leak ignited during maintenance activity at the refinery’s coking plant, killing one worker instantly and sending 11 others to the hospital, three of whom later died as a result of their injuries, Pemex confirmed in a series of releases via its Twitter account between Aug. 8 and Aug. 11.

The fire, which was contained to the refinery’s coking plant already offline for maintenance, did not cause damage to other processing units at the site, Pemex said.

The root cause of the incident, which originated in the area of the plant’s coking drums, is currently under investigation, according to the state-owned oil company.

Further details regarding operations at the refinery have not been released.

This latest incident at the Madero refinery follows a previous fire that broke out on July 23 in a gasoline storage tank at the site, leaving nine workers injured (OGJ Online, July 24, 2014).

The accident comes just days after Mexico’s senate approved legislation that will begin to open the country’s oil and gas industry to outside investment in both the upstream and downstream for the first time since it was nationalized in 1937 (OGJ Online, Aug. 7, 2014).

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@ogjonline.com.

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