At least four workers were killed after an explosion and fire on an offshore oil platform in Mexico’s oil-rich Bay of Campeche, which forms the southern part of the Gulf of Mexico, on Wednesday.

According to reports, the explosion took place at 3:40 a.m. on the Abkatun Permanente, a platform operated by state-run Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex). In a statement Wednesday, Pemex said the fire broke out in the dehydration and pump area of the platform. The company said it had evacuated 300 workers from the platform, and that so far 16 had been injured, two seriously. Other reports said as many as 45 people had been injured.

Pemex said one worker from Cotemar, a Mexican oil services company, had been killed. The injured were being treated at hospitals in Ciudad de Carmen, a city in the Mexican state of Campeche. The company added that eight firefighting boats had been deployed to extinguish the blaze.

In October 2007, 22 workers died in an accident at another Pemex platform, Kab-101, which was also located in the Bay of Campeche (see Daily GPI, Oct. 26, 2007). In that incident, a storm caused a portable drilling rig to crash into the platform, which in turn caused a leak of oil and natural gas. At least one lifeboat was lost during the rescue effort. Two subsequent fires broke out the following month on the platform, but Pemex got control by that December.