At 17:15 on Friday, Pemex reported a gas leak at a submarine pipeline in close proximity to Ku Maloob Zaap’s satellite platform, located in Campeche Sound. The company decided to extinguish the fire with nitrogen and control the leak five hours later.
Ku Maloob Zaap is one of Pemex’s largest crude production facilities, accounting for more than 40% of the company’s 1.7 million barrels of daily production. Pemex is known for its major industrial accidents, such as the Mexico City’s headquarters gas explosion that happened in 2013. There were no injuries or evacuations for the Ku Maloob Zaap’s leak, yet there are concerns about marine life after footage of the fire went viral.
The footage, captured by a local reporter Manuel Lopez San Martin, shows the fire burning 150 yards off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Climate advocates such as Fridays For Future suggest that the gas leak is a reminder to “leave the fossil fuels on the ground and kick [polluters out]”.
Pemex has investigated the incident and claims the turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap’s production facility was affected by bad weather. The head of ASEA, Mexico’s oil safety regulator, Angel Carrizales has also responded to the incident and stated it “did not generate the spill”. However, explanations have yet to be provided for the burning ocean.
This is not the first time the Gulf has burst in flames. The 2010 BP Spill which occurred at the site leaked over 130 million gallons of oil into the ocean. 82,000 birds, 6,165 turtles, and 25,900 marine mammals were harmed from this spill. In 2015, an explosion at Pemex’s Abkatun resulted in a large number of casualties. At the time, four workers were killed, 16 injured, and over 300 were evacuated.