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WATCH: ‘Eye Of Fire’ Seen In Ocean After Mexico’s State-Owned Oil Company Suffers Offshore Gas Leak
A helicopter lands on a habitation platform linked to a Petroleos Mexicanos offshore rig producing oil from the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field in the Gulf of Mexico 65 miles northeast of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010.
Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A video of a fire on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico went viral after a gas leak at one of Mexico’s state-owned oil developments.

Reuters reported that the leak occurred at Pemex’s Ku Maloob Zaap oil development – it’s most important development. The resulting fire took more than five hours to extinguish, the company told the outlet.

Reuters reported the fire resulted from a gas leak at an underwater pipeline near the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Pemex said no injuries were reported, and production from the project was not affected after the gas leak ignited around 5:15 a.m. local time. It was completely extinguished by 10:30 a.m.,” Reuters reported. “The company added it would 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, tweeted that the fire “did not generate any spill.”

More from Reuters:

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.

“The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap’s active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains,” according to a Pemex incident report shared by one of Reuters’ sources.

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

Details from the incident report were not mentioned in Pemex’s brief press statement and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Laura Pidcock, a former Labour MP who advocates for socialism, tried to blame the fire on capitalism, a notion that was quickly dismissed since Pemex is a state-owned company.

“Pemex is literally what happens when the state seized the means of production,” wrote The Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti.

As Reuters reported, other social media users dubbed the viral images of the incident the “eye of fire,” due to its circular shape surrounded by ocean water.

Pemex has a history of accidents dating back to the 1980s. Between 1984 and 2019, more than 700 people have died due to explosions and fires attributable to Pemex, according to statistics database Statista. Between 2010 and 2017, more than 100 people have died in accidents attributable to the company.

In 2017, BNAmericas reported the company had seen its lowest accident rate in history for the previous year, seeing a 64% drop in incidence of injury-causing accidents.

Beyond accidents, Pemex is also one of the world’s largest polluters. Reuters reported in August 2020 that Pemex “was the ninth biggest energy producer of carbon and methane emissions globally between 1965 and 2018, according to data from the Climate Accountability Institute, an NGO, with emissions of some 23 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent.”

“That is less than the largest state-owned emitters, Saudi Aramco 2222.SE and the National Iranian Oil Company, but more than any other Latin American oil company, the data showed,” the outlet continued. “Even so, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters the company has no plans to change its strategy.”

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