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Oil Company Explains Gulf Of Mexico Ocean Fire

| Last updated 

Oil Company Explains Gulf Of Mexico Ocean Fire

A rupture in an undersea gas pipeline has been blamed for the ocean fire which took place in the Gulf of Mexico:


Mexico's state-owned oil firm, Petroleos Mexicanos (known as Pemex), said it had dispatched fire control boats to pump more water over the flames.

Pemex said no-one was injured in the incident in the offshore Ku-Maloob-Zaap oil development field.


The leak on Friday occurred about 150 yards from a drilling platform, with the company confirming it had brought the gas leak under control about five hours later.

But the accident gave rise to the strange sight of flames boiling up from below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.

Bright orange flames jumping out of water resembling molten lava was dubbed an 'eye of fire' on social media due to the blaze's circular shape, as it raged a short distance from a Pemex oil platform.

Credit: ABC
Credit: ABC

As well as no injuries being reported, Pemex also said the production from the project was not affected after the gas leak ignited around 5:15am local time. It was completely extinguished by 10:30am.

The company added it would further investigate the cause of the fire.

Pemex, which has a long record of major industrial accidents at its facilities, added it also shut the valves of the 12-inch-diameter pipeline.

Angel Carrizales, head of Mexico's oil safety regulator ASEA, wrote on Twitter that the incident 'did not generate any spill'. He did not explain what was burning on the water's surface.


Ku Maloob Zaap is Pemex's biggest crude oil producer, accounting for more than 40% of its nearly 1.7 million barrels of daily output.

A Pemex incident report said: "The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap's active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains."

Company workers used nitrogen to control the fire, the report added.

Credit: ABC
Credit: ABC

It is unclear how much environmental damage was caused by the gas leak and oceanic fireball.

Miyoko Sakashita, oceans programme director for the Center for Biological Diversity, wrote: "The frightening footage of the Gulf of Mexico is showing the world that offshore drilling is dirty and dangerous."

Ms Sakashita added: "These horrific accidents will continue to harm the Gulf if we don't end offshore drilling once and for all."

Featured Image Credit: ABC

Topics: News, Mexico

Rebecca Shepherd
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