Investigation continues into deadly Mexico pipeline blast

December 22nd, 2010 - 2:35 am ICT by BNO News  

MEXICO CITY (BNO NEWS) — Petroleros Mexicanos (Pemex) officials on Tuesday said it could take months to determine the cause of Sunday’s pipeline explosion which killed 28 people in Mexico.

The explosion happened on Sunday in San Martin, located in the southeastern region of Mexico, killing 28 people and injuring 52 others. In addition, 115 homes sustained damage.

Pemex Director Juan Jose Suarez Coppel said it will be impossible to determine whether the explosion was due to the pipeline breaking or due to criminals trying to steal fuel. According to the company, 5 million barrels of fuel worth around 9.3 billion pesos ($750 million) were stolen in 2008.

“Until a full survey is completed, we are not ruling out mechanical failure of the pipeline, as well as the possibility that a clandestine pipeline was pumping out fuel,” Suarez Coppel said. “The broken pipe is now in the hands of the authorities and our experts and staff which are participating in the investigation.”

Meanwhile, Mexico’s Environment and Natural Resources Department (Semarnat) is looking into the incident to evaluate its environmental impact.

Semarnat Secretary Rafael Elvira Quesada said that, even though serious damage to the environment has not been confirmed, visible effects of the explosion can be seen throughout the residential area, its water reservoirs, and vegetation.

Quesada went on to say that the areas that need to be evaluated are ‘the level of emissions in the atmosphere generated during the explosion, in vegetation and trees, as well as the oil spill, apparently crude, in water reservoirs along 20 kilometers (12 miles) of the Atoyac River.”

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