Explosion at Pemex HQ in Building B-2:

Narratives and counter-narratives

About 4 p.m. on January 31st, an explosion ripped through three floors of a Pemex administrative building at its headquarters complex in downtown Mexico City. Additionally, the blast—traveling through an underground tunnel—damaged a services building across the street. There were 37 fatalities and some 100 injuries.

According to early reports, the explosion originated in the sub-basement and penetrated the basement, first floor and mezzanine. It was a “clean” explosion, as experts put it, without a fire or dark smoke. Pemex and the government put the cause as an accumulation of methane gas.

The government’s explanation soon ran into difficulties: architectural plans for the building did not show gas pipelines in the sub-basement; further, all gas distributed to commercial or residential buildings requires an odorant, and there was no smell of gas.

As would be expected in Mexico, counter-narratives soon sprang up. The narratives all postulated that the explosion was intentional; but the presumed authors and motives varied widely.

Our report 146 examines the government’s narrative about the explosion as well as the several counter-narratives. The report concludes that the government is on the defensive, as its explanatory pieces do not yet fit together.

The report was reviewed in a blog by John Kingston, News Editor at Platts in New York City, who compared our report on the explosion at Pemex to a spy novel.

Click http://blogs.platts.com/2013/02/15/pemex-blast/ to read Platts article.

Download Energia’s Market Note 146 Explosion at Pemex HQ Building B-2 (Outline).

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MEI Market Note 146 (revised 02/14/2013): Explosion at Pemex HQ in Building B-2 — Narratives and counter-narratives
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Written by

George Baker

Baker & Associates offers niche-market business and policy intelligence related to Mexico's oil and gas, power and chemical industries. Over 1,000 reports have been issued in the last 20 years. Subject matter expert and publisher George Baker, who directs the firm, has carried out consulting assignments starting in the late 1970s at the height of the Oil Boom in Mexico. He brings bilingual and bicultural skill-sets to understanding and responding to challenges of business and public policy, coupled with a deep familiarity with the history and idiosyncrasies of the Mexican operating environment.

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