A fire at an offshore oil platform operated by Mexican state oil company Pemex has left five people dead and slashed the country’s oil output by almost a quarter.About 420,000 barrels of daily oil output remained offline on Monday, the company said, following the 80-minute blaze at the Gulf of Mexico facility on Sunday evening.

‘Right now the platform is still not operating, so they can’t continue to extract oil,” Octavio Romero, Pemex chief executive, told a press conference. “The wells are closed. And we hope to resume production as soon as possible. “He said the 125 wells that had been taken offline should resume production within “days”.The blaze marked the latest setback for the heavily indebted state oil group. An underwater gas leak last month, also in the Gulf, caused a huge inferno on the surface, drawing global media attention.

Pemex was once a lucrative cash cow for the Mexican state but now relies heavily on government handouts. Most of its earnings go to the state in tax, leaving little to invest in boosting production and forcing it to use debt to finance capital spending.

The company insisted that the fire did not occur because of a lack of investment in maintenance, noting that the budget had recently been

The fire broke out on Sunday afternoon during routine maintenance at a compression and power generation facility. Pemex said it was carrying out an inspection of the facilities to determine the cause of the fire and damage caused.

The incident was also a setback for President Andrés Manuel L6pez Obrador, who has bet the nation’s fortunes on the national oil company.