Mexico’s state oil and gas company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) reported that that the fire that broke out on its underwater gas pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico on July 2 was caused by a gas leak. According to eyewitnesses’ video, the gas that broke out of the pipeline was burning on the surface of the water.
The fire broke out off the coast of ciudad del Carmen in the state of Campeche in southeastern Mexico. The fire started at 5:15 a.m. after a gas leak caused by a malfunction of one of the gas pipeline valves. The incident occurred 150 meters from the drilling platform at the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field.
Pemex specialists closed the connecting valves of the pipeline and stopped the gas leak. Three auxiliary vessels that used nitrogen to tackle the fire were involved in extinguishing the fire, Reuters reported. Five and a half hours later, the fire was extinguished. The company noted that no one was injured as a result of the incident, and the employees did not have to be evacuated.
It is not yet known what damage the environment caused by the gas leak and the fire. The Mexican Agency for Safety, Energy and Environment ASEA said there had been “no spill” because of the incident.
The director of ocean programs at the Center for Biological Diversity, Mieko Sakashita, said that “the frightening footage of the Gulf of Mexico shows the world that offshore drilling is environmentally harmful and dangerous.” She added that such accidents would continue to harm the Gulf “if we do not end offshore drilling once and for all.”
Swedish eco-activist Greta Tunberg tweeted a video of the underwater fire and said people in power were simultaneously “calling themselves “climate leaders” and discovering new oil fields, pipelines and coal-fired power plants.” “This is the world they will leave us,” Tunberg said.
On April 20, 2010, the largest environmental disaster in the history of the United States occurred in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig spilled about five million barrels of oil into the Gulf. BP’s spending on disaster relief and compensation exceeded $50 billion.