A fire on the ocean surface west of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula has been extinguished, with state-owned oil company Pemex blaming a gas leak from an underwater pipeline for sparking the blaze that was captured in videos shared widely on social media.
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.
The fire began in an underwater pipeline that connects to a platform at Pemex’s flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development, the company’s most important, four sources told Reuters earlier.
Pemex said no injuries were reported and production from the project was not affected after the gas leak ignited around 5:15am local time.
The fire was extinguished five hours later.
The company, 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.
“The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap’s active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains,” according to an incident report shared by one of Reuters’ sources.
Those details were not mentioned in Pemex’s statement.
Company workers used nitrogen to control the fire, according to one of the sources.
Pemex added that it would investigate the cause of the incident.
Source: Gulf of Mexico ocean fire extinguished after Pemex pipeline rupture – ABC News