(Adds one dead)
By Gabriel Stargardter
MEXICO CITY, Dec 23 (Reuters) - At least one person died in a blaze near a pipeline owned by Mexican state oil company Pemex, and seven others were injured late Tuesday night, local emergency services said on Wednesday.
The fire was controlled without the pipeline being affected, Pemex said via its Twitter account late on Tuesday, adding that none of the injured people were Pemex employees.
The blaze apparently started in an area used to store stolen fuel, near the town of Huimanguillo in the southern state of Tabasco, Pemex said via its Twitter account late on Tuesday.
Ivan Martinez, the coordinator of emergency services in Tabasco state, told local television that they found a burned corpse at the scene. He added that the blaze was under control within a couple of hours.
The oil company often has to deal with fires that start when its pipelines are tapped illegally. Pemex has admitted that workers, former employees, drug cartels and business people have been involved in stealing its fuel and it has taken some measures to cut down on the costly thefts.
Pemex in November said it reduced its annual accident rate last year by more than 33 percent. However, a Reuters investigation earlier this year found that Pemex was reducing its accident rate by including hours worked by office staff in its calculations.
Accidents have plagued Mexico's state-controlled oil company for years. In 2013, at least 37 people were killed by a blast at Pemex's Mexico City headquarters, and another 26 people died in a fire at a Pemex natural gas facility in northern Mexico in September 2012. (Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Walker Simon and Christian Schmollinger)