The Gulf of Mexico is literally on fire. Fossil fuels, everyone

A huge fire on the surface of the ocean to the west of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula has finally been extinguished, state oil company Pemex said, pointing the finger at a gas leak from an underwater pipeline.

Footage of bright orange flames leaping out of the water, dubbed an “eye of fire” on social media, quickly went viral on Saturday morning, with many expressing shock at the apocalyptic scenes.

According to Pemex, the fire took more than five hours to fully put out. It began in an underwater pipeline that connects to a platform at the oil firm’s flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development, according to Reuters.

No injuries were reported, and production from the project was reportedly not impacted. Nonetheless campaigners and activists highlighted the footage as a glaring example of global inaction on the climate crisis.

Writing on Twitter, Greta Thunberg called out world leaders for their ongoing reliance on fossil fuels, saying: “Meanwhile the people in power call themselves “climate leaders” as they open up new oilfields, pipelines and coal power plants – granting new oil licenses exploring future oil drilling sites.

“This is the world they are leaving for us.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democrat congresswoman, added her voice to the outrage, tweeting: “Shout out to all the legislators going out on dinner dates with Exxon lobbyists so they can say a Green New Deal is too expensive.”

Angel Carrizales, head of Mexico’s oil safety regulator, said that the incident “did not generate any spill”. He did not explain what was burning on the ocean’s surface.

Ku Maloob Zaap is Pemex’s largest crude oil producer, accounting for more than 40 per cent of its nearly 1.7 million barrels of daily output.

Leave comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.