The Christian Science Monitor

President Enrique Peña Nieto wants to open the troubled company to private investment. Pemex suffers from multiple problems. It is saddled with an antiquated bureaucracy and declining production, has little flexibility to invest in its installations, and lacks the advanced technology needed to access hard-to-reach oil. The company’s dubious safety record will also likely be central to the debate.

Mexicans remain divided on the issue, although opinions are shifting. As recently as 2008, 76 percent of respondents in a survey by researcher center CIDE opposed privatization, according to Duncan Wood, director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s Mexico Institute.

“More recently opinion polls have suggested there has been a significant softening of those attitudes,” Mr. Wood says. “What all this really depends on is how ambitious the government wants to be.”

Speaking to the media Tuesday night, Mr. Murillo Karam, the attorney general, described the blast as “diffuse, slow, horizontal and perfectly defined,” characteristic of a gas explosion. He dismissed the possibility of a targeted attack, including a bomb.