Mexico's Pemex faces possible fine for oil spill

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 24, 2012 1:38 PM
Mexico's Pemex faces possible fine for oil spill

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex faces a fine for an oil spill in the western state of Oaxaca that has affected up to 6 km (4 miles) of coastline, authorities said on Friday.

The spill, which began last week when a floating oil storage facility sunk, has so far spewed 1,000 liters (264 US gallons) of crude onto eight beaches, according to Laura Ernestina Aguilar, head of Oaxaca's environmental protection agency.

She said the final spillage figure would likely be higher.

"The fine will have to set an example," said Aguilar.

Pemex has 20 days to clean the affected area, or face the prospect of a bigger fine, said Aguilar. The company has four months to appeal the decision, she added.

Pemex said in a statement that it would "strive to return conditions to how they were."

The affected beaches are near Pemex's Salina Cruz refinery that pumps 330,000 barrels per day.

In January, a pipeline leak in the state of Veracruz polluted a local river.

(Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)