Pemex’s Akal-H oil platform catches fire, explodes

Akal-H platform by Pemex

Mexico, D.F. – Not more than two months after a disastrous fire at the Abkatun platform where hundreds of people were injured and several died, Pemex is dealing with a new accident.

The company has reported that their Akal-H platform in Campeche Bay has exploded. According to Pemex, a fire broke out Monday around 2:00 p.m. on the usually unmanned platform. The fire, and eventual explosion, was the result of a gas leak.

Pemex said that the three men who were performing a routine inspection of the platform at the time of the explosion were safely evacuated without injuries. The oil company said they extinguished the fire using four emergency response vessels.

This is the third time Pemex has experienced an offshore accident in 2015.

In April, the Abkatun Alpha platform exploded killing workers, while in May, the Troll solution jack-up rig tilted, killing two and spilling diesel into the Gulf of Mexico.

The first two accidents of the year were cause for Gustavo Hernandez, who was appointed exploration and production director last year, to request a 40-day reassignment and move to a role where he could focus on forming Pemex partnerships with private companies seeking to enter Mexico’s oil industry. His former role of E&P will be temporarily taken over by former chief of staff, Javier Hinojosa.

The platform at Akal-H is part of the Akal complex within the Cantarell field in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform is operating at a shallow depth of between 33 and 55 meters. The Akal complex is one of the most productive within the Cantarell field.