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Baseefa Ltd

Pemex HQ explosion caused by methane

05 August 2013

The blast on January 31 that killed 37 Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) employees at the company’s headquarters in Mexico City was caused by a methane gas build-up in the basement, according to a statement by the Attorney General’s office. Three floors collapsed and more than 100 employees were injured in the blast.

Prosecutors confirmed that electric cables used for maintenance ignited a cloud of methane gas combined with traces of hydrocarbons. Investigators found an extension cord, a lamp and a plug that could have ignited the blast. Vapours from solvents used for cleaning also contributed to the blast.

The Pemex headquarters site was used to store hydrocarbons eight decades ago, according to the statement. Methane gas accumulated from fuel kept in the building by a gas company that in the 1930s used the same lot where the Pemex HQ is now located. It said the gas beneath the surface could also have come from a fuel warehouse that was once there.

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