Mexican officials say an explosion at an offshore gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed two workers, injured eight and left one missing.
MEXICO CITY — An explosion and fire destroyed an offshore gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico early Friday, killing two workers, injuring eight and one missing, authorities said.
The state oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos, said the disaster occurred at the Nohoch gas transfer platform it operates. He said the dead and missing workers were employees of a subcontractor and that three of the injured were company employees and five worked for the subcontractor.
The company, known as Pemex, said none of the injuries were life-threatening.
The company statement said seven ships evacuated a total of 321 workers from the platform. Photographs distributed by the company showed several fire boats spraying water jets onto the still-smoky platform.
Octavio Romero, director of Petróleos Mexicanos, said that the platform “was completely destroyed”, but that four other nearby ones, connected, did not catch fire.
There appeared to be little risk of an oil spill, although it was not clear whether the accident could force the company to increase gas flaring, a process of flaring excess gas that pumps large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Rigs like the one that burned receive gas from wells and pump it through pipelines to storage tanks or ships. Because some wells produce gas associated with oil, oil production would have to be shut down until another place to send the gas could be found, or the gas would have to be flared.
Romero appeared to suggest that the company would temporarily halt production on some wells, saying the accident would reduce crude output “by several thousand barrels” per day.
That would be a bad situation for the company, and Romero said that “we need to get back to production quickly.”