Leaky Gas Pipeline Sparks an Inferno in the Gulf of Mexico

A leak in an underwater gasoline pipe sparked a swirling fireplace that raged for hours in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, making a biblical scene that drew comparisons to Mordor, the volcanic hellscape from “The Lord of the Rings.”

The round inferno shaped at 5:15 a.m. after a pipeline about 12 inches in diameter leaked, in line with a press release from Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly, which controls the pipeline.

Video footage of the fireplace confirmed ships dousing water onto the flames. The fireplace was lastly extinguished at 10:45 a.m. and valves linked to the pipeline have been shut off, in line with a press release from the firm.

Pemex mentioned that nobody was injured and that it could examine the trigger of the leak, which occurred in an underwater pipeline 150 meters from a platform at Ku-Maloob-Zaap, an offshore oil discipline in the Bay of Campeche.

It was not instantly clear what variety of injury the fireplace might need prompted to marine life or how giant the fireplace was. Company officers didn’t instantly reply to messages requesting remark.

Ángel Carrizales, govt director of Mexico’s Security, Energy and Environment Agency, mentioned on Twitter that the leak “did not cause a spill.”

The fireplace was “attended to and controlled by Pemex personnel in accordance with their protocols for emergency responses,” he mentioned in a publish in Spanish that shortly elicited skepticism and anger on social media.

“Pardon my ignorance, but how is there a fire and at the same time no spill?” one Twitter consumer wrote.

Some environmental teams pointed to the fireplace as a stark instance of the dangers of counting on fossil fuels as local weather change contributes to deadly warmth waves throughout Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

“These are the risks we face on a daily basis and which call for a change in the energy model,” Gustavo Ampugnani, govt director of Greenpeace Mexico, mentioned in a press release.

Chris Robbins, senior supervisor for science initiatives at the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, mentioned Pemex ought to examine whether or not some other infrastructure was compromised. Researchers needs to be allowed to discover the space to evaluate any injury to marine life, he mentioned.

“The footage is pretty alarming: It looks like the gates of hell are opening up,” Mr. Robbins mentioned. “This appears to have been snuffed out pretty quickly, but I do think it raises those questions. As long as we’re drilling for oil and natural gas, these kind of accidents, unfortunately, are going to continue to occur.”

After President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico took workplace in 2018, he introduced his intention to spend billions of dollars strengthening the dominance of the nation’s state-owned vitality firms. At the identical time, he has spurned most new overseas funding in vitality — whether or not it entails oil exploration or personal wind farms.

He has mentioned he needs to revive Pemex’s former standing as a nationwide oil firm that made Mexico self-sufficient in vitality and offered a whole lot of 1000’s of well-paying jobs.

But critics have warned Mr. López Obrador that he’s sinking public cash into reviving an business that’s being overtaken by new, cleaner expertise.

Pemex has additionally been troubled by debt, mismanagement and corruption.

In 2019, Pemex carried $107 billion in debt, making it the world’s most indebted oil firm.

The following yr, a former chief, Emilio Lozoya Austin, was arrested in southern Spain on fees of tax fraud and bribery.