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4 dead, 16 injured in oil rig blaze

Four oil workers have been killed and 16 others injured in a fire on a shallow-water platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

The blaze forced the evacuation of 300 people, Mexico's state-owned oil company said.

Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said on Twitter that the death toll had risen from one to four. In an earlier statement, the company said that two of the injured workers were in a serious condition.

The fire broke out at the Abkatun Permanente platform. Pemex said eight firefighting boats were trying to extinguish the flames. It was unclear whether any significant amount of oil had spilled into the Gulf.

Mexico's Energy Security Agency said the injured were being treated at a hospital in Campeche, adding that the blaze "is being extinguished".

The Abkatun platform is located in the Campeche Sound, near the coast of the states of Campeche and Tabasco.

It is further out to sea than the platform involved in the last severe fire in the area - the 2007 fire at the Kab 121 offshore rig.

That accident was caused when high waves hit the rig, sending a boom crashing into an oil platform's valve assembly. The accident killed at least 21 workers and the rig spilled crude and natural gas for almost two months.

Mexico's worst major spill in the Gulf was in June 1979, when an offshore drilling rig in Mexican waters - the Ixtoc I - blew up, releasing 140 million gallons of oil.

It took Pemex and a series of US contractors nearly nine months to cap the well, and a great deal of the oil contaminated Mexican and US waters.

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