In Salina Cruz in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, a fire broke out at the Pemex owned Antonio Dovalí Jaime refinery last week injuring at least eight people, although the Red Cross puts the number of injured at nine. The entire refinery, which is the largest in the nation, had to be evacuated of its approximately 2,000 employees.
A Pemex spokesman reported the fire was put under control in house and that no environmental impact was sustained. On the day of the accident, the 330,000 barrel per day refinery was said to be operating normally with the exception of an alkylation unit. Most of the facility’s production is consumed locally.
Photographs were taken by emergency workers which showed a large fireball and a black plume of smoke rising from the facility. A civil protection agency official in Oaxaca named Luis Velazquez reported that nearby schools were evacuated and hospitals in the area were on high alert to treat any injuries.
Only a few days earlier, the company issued a statement saying it had achieved 0.38 accidents per million man-hours worked, which is well below the international oil and gas sector average and a 33% overall reduction in Pemex’s accident rate. They also reported “3 billion pesos to the oil regions, granting them to state and municipal authorities, as well as social organizations in order to strengthen basic infrastructure in the areas by promoting health, education and productive projects, and supplying fuel to operate the vehicles of local administrations.” The report also reiterated the company’s commitment to lowering its environmental impact and improving the lives of those who live in oil producing regions.
However, The Daily Mall believes the statistics to be fraudulent and claims that it’s hard to believe given the company’s fatality rate was six times higher than the global average in 2013, making it one of the dangerous places for oil work on the planet. For its calculations, Pemex allegedly included hours worked by employees in non-oil producing capacities, which improved its overall average of hours worked per accidents.
Lilia Fabry is the owner of MPP Freelance, a writing and web design firm in Houston, TX.