A leak in an underwater gas line sparked a swirling fire that raged for hours in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday, creating a biblical scene that made comparisons to Mordor, the volcanic hellish landscape of the “Lord of the rings “.
Circular hell formed at 5:15 a.m. after a pipeline about 12 inches in diameter leaked, according to one declaration de Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, the Mexican state oil monopoly, which controls the pipeline.
Video footage of the fire showed ships spraying the flames with water. The fire was finally extinguished at 10:45 a.m. and the valves connected to the pipeline were closed, according to a company statement.
Pemex said no one was injured and that he would investigate the cause of the leak, which occurred in an underwater pipeline 150 meters from a rig at Ku-Maloob-Zaap, an offshore oil field in the bay of Campeche.
“These are the risks we face on a daily basis and which call for a change in the energy model,” said Gustavo Ampugnani, executive director of Greenpeace Mexico, said in a statement.
Chris Robbins, senior director of science initiatives at nonprofit Ocean Conservancy, said Pemex should investigate whether other infrastructure has been compromised. Researchers should be allowed to explore the area to assess any damage to marine life, he said.
“The images are quite alarming: it looks like the gates of hell are opening,” said Mr. Robbins. “It seems to have been hushed up pretty quickly, but I think it raises these questions. As long as we drill for oil and natural gas, these kinds of accidents, unfortunately, will continue to happen.
After Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office in 2018, he announced his intention to spend billions of dollars to strengthen the dominance of the country’s public energy companies. At the same time, it has rejected most new foreign investment in energy, be it oil exploration or private wind farms.
He said he wanted to restore Pemex’s former status as the national oil company that made Mexico self-sufficient in energy and provided hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs.
But critics have warned Mr López Obrador that he is spending public money to revive an industry which is being overtaken by new, cleaner technology.
Pemex was also troubled by debt, mismanagement and corruption.
In 2019, Pemex had debt of $ 107 billion, making it the the most indebted fuel company.