Methane leak blamed for Pemex headquarters explosion

By Stephen Downer
Correspondent

Published: February 5, 2013 3:38 pm ET
Updated: February 5, 2013 3:40 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Polyethylene, Film & Sheet, Extrusion, Materials Suppliers

MEXICO CITY -- An accumulation of methane gas was to blame for the Jan. 31 explosion that killed 37 people and injured 100 others at the headquarters of state oil company Petróleos Mexicanos, Mexico's attorney general says.

No traces of explosives were found at the scene in the Mexican capital, Jesús Murillo Karam told journalists at a late-night news conference Feb. 4.

According to the official, experts, including several from the United States and Europe, believe a spark detonated the leaking gas in a basement at one of the complex's several multi-story buildings. The gas may have seeped into the structure from subterranean ducts or from the sewers, he said.

Many Mexicans, including one prominent newspaper commentator, had speculated a bomb triggered the blast, which caused the collapse of several lower floors in the B-2 building, burying most of the victims. But Murillo said an exploding bomb would have left a crater and none was found. It also would have started a fire but there were no flames, he said.

The complex's 11,000 employees were told to return to work on Feb. 6. Most are employed in the facility's adjoining 53-story Pemex Tower, the city's second tallest building, which suffered only superficial damage.

The president of Mexico's largest plastic bag-making organization said he did not expect supplies of low density polyethylene from Pemex to be interrupted by the tragedy.

"We know the government is taking measures to ensure supplies are unaffected," Juan Antonio Hernández, president of Industriales de Bolsas Plásticas de México AC (Inboplast), a 40-strong group of plastic bag firms, told Plastics News.

Pemex is a major supplier of low density PE in Mexico while most high density PE is imported, according to national plastics industry association Anipac (Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico AC).

Hernández, who is also the managing director of Falcon Plastics de México SA de CV, of Morelia, capital of the state of Michoacan, said: "I'm a mechanical engineer and was struck by the fact that after the explosion there was a flash but no smoke, which you would expect with a bomb."


Comments

Methane leak blamed for Pemex headquarters explosion

By Stephen Downer
Correspondent

Published: February 5, 2013 3:38 pm ET
Updated: February 5, 2013 3:40 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

A. Schulman reports growth in sales and profit

October 22, 2014 7:58 pm ET

Executives with materials maker A. Schulman Inc. have to be smiling after seeing full results for the firm's 2014 fiscal year.    More

Image

PolyOne takes on LED lighting

October 22, 2014 4:23 pm ET

PolyOne Corp. is making inroads into LED lighting applications with its Therma-Tech-brand material technology.    More

Image

Bergen International adds manufacturing space, extrusion line

October 22, 2014 3:42 pm ET

Chemical foaming agent manufacturer Bergen International LLC recently doubled its manufacturing capacity, added an extrusion line and laboratory...    More

Image

DuPont materials taking more ground in auto, medical, electronics

October 22, 2014 2:41 pm ET

Materials made by DuPont Co. are making inroads with products ranging from auto coolant pipes to circuit breakers to surgical devices.    More

Image

Materials companies introduce a range of new products at Fakuma

October 22, 2014 11:29 am ET

DuPont Co. led a parade of materials firms with new products at Fakuma 2014.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events