Safety

Pemex Platform Fire Takes Production Offline

A fire at Ku-Maloob-Zaap killed five and sidelined more than 400,000 BOPD.

Mexican Flag
Pemex is working to restore electricity to the platform complex to bring wells back on stream.
SOURCE: Danny Lehman/Getty Images

Pemex Chief Executive Octavio Romero has confirmed that a fire at the E-Ku A2 platform over the weekend has resulted in production cuts of 421,000 BOPD and required the shut in of 125 wells. The operator’s total crude production was 1.69 million B/D in June. Five workers were killed and six injured in the 22 August blaze at the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field cluster in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Romero told reporters at a news conference that he was not sure when production could resume at the field. The company is working to restore electricity and once that happens, some wells may be able to restart.

He added that the fire broke out as crews were performing maintenance on the platform, and a search for two missing workers continues.

The incident follows last month’s fire, also at Ku-Maloob-Zaap. The Ku-C platform caused by gas leaking from a 12-in. pneumatic pumping pipeline escaping to the surface that was later ignited by lightning from a thunderstorm in the area.

Bad weather appears to have set off the chain of events that led to that fire, including the pneumatic pumping gas turbocharging equipment necessary to produce the wells being knocked out of operation.

These incidents and others have called the Mexican state oil company’s safety infrastructure into question.

“There is not a problem of lack of investment, there is not a problem of lack of resources,” said Romero. “The oil industry is a risky industry. We have had accidents, which in numbers are less than in previous years.”

Four of those killed in Sunday’s fire worked for Mexican oil services company Cotemar, and one was from Pemex.

An investigation into the cause of the E-Ku A2 fire is underway.