July 4 (IndiaToday) – A gas leak from an underwater pipeline caused a huge fire on the ocean surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The visual of a fire breaking out in water went viral on social media. The flames resembled molten lava and were called the “eye of fire”.
Various journalists and publications from Mexico and elsewhere shared clips of boats spraying streams of water on the “eye of fire” to douse the blaze having a circular shape. Reportedly, nitrogen was used to control the flames.
The fire, caused in an undersea pipeline of Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos or Pemex, took more than five hours to be completely extinguished. The pipeline connects to a platform at Pemex’s flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development, news agency Reuters reported.
Pemex, which has a long record of major industrial accidents at its facilities, said no injuries were reported and that production from the project was also not affected by the fire. Reportedly, the flames ignited by the gas leak had begun at 5: 15 am local time and it was completely extinguished by 10:30 am.
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.
Ku Maloob Zaap is Pemex’s biggest crude oil producer, accounting for more than 40 per cent of its nearly 1.7 million barrels of daily output.
“The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap’s active production facilities was affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains,” according to a Pemex incident report as shared by Reuters.
Pemex has said that it would investigate the cause of the fire and informed that it shut the valves of the 12-inch-diameter pipeline.