The New York Times

Experts, while cautioning that it was too early to tell what had gone wrong, said the company would inevitably face more severe scrutiny as Mexico’s Congress returned to work in the coming weeks. The country’s new president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has pledged to submit a plan for overhauling Pemex, opening it to more private investment and perhaps greater consolidation. But with the blast, deliberations about the company could become more elemental.

“You pull all of this together and you say, well, if they can’t even guarantee safety in their own building, their own headquarters, what does that tell us about the company?” said Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “It tells us there are things seriously wrong there. It tells you things need to be seriously shaken up.”

George Baker, director of, an energy research institute in Houston, said that previous safety scandals at Pemex had been used by Mexican leaders as an argument for making controversial changes. In 1992, he said, a major explosion in a residential Guadalajara neighborhood — caused by gas leaking into the sewers — was followed by calls for change, and a plan to break Pemex into smaller pieces.