Pemex fires highlight Mexican oil-sector struggles


Green advocates worry that offshore oil platforms in Mexico are becoming increasingly accident-prone, posing a growing risk to the marine environment. (Photo by Denys Yelmanov, Shutterstock)

As July 2 dawned in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, a surreal fireball burned on the ocean’s surface. The eruption occurred just 150 meters (490 feet) from an offshore oil platform called Ku-C in the state-owned Pemex oil company’s most important production area, Ku-Maloob-Zaap. That area, comprising five oil fields and 180 wells, accounts for 40% of Pemex’s 1.7 million barrels of daily crude-oil output. The fire took some five hours to put out, with Pemex officials concluding a bolt of lightning had ignited natural gas rising to the surface from a leaking underwater pipeline. With no lives lost, attention focused on possible damage to marine life and the release of air pollutants. But the conflagration also raised a broader question: Is the hydrocarbon-based development model that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has doggedly promoted for his country coming apart at the seams, posing... [Log in to read more]

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