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About that Burning Ring of Fire

mexico gas leak fire

mexico gas leak fire

A leaking gas pipeline has set the ocean – and the Internet – alight.

A carefree weekend here in Australia got off to a rude start on Saturday morning when images started circulating on social media of, what appeared to be, a flaming portal to some kind of hellish dimension that had opened up out in the Gulf of Mexico. The flaming portal bore a strong resemblance to the ‘Eye of Sauron’. An ordinary Saturday morning suddenly had an ‘end of days’ feel to it.

The reality was more explainable… yet no less horrifying.

A 12-inch gas pipe running out to the KU-C satellite platform had ruptured and caught fire in the Bay of Campeche, west of the Yucatan Peninsula. The fire reported broke out at 5.15am and was sprayed with water pumps and fire-supressing nitrogen by rescue ships before finally being extinguished at 10.45am. The platform was part of the Ku-Maloob-Zaap field which is owned and operated by Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil monopoly. The cause of the fire was not explained by the oil company directly, although an internal incident report claimed, “the turbomachinery of Ku-Maloob-Zaap’s active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains.”

…yet another example of the dangers of oil and gas drilling

The head of the Mexican agency responsible for regulating offshore drilling and pipelines claimed the incident “did not generate any spill”. Nobody was buying it. By this stage footage shot by local journalists had started circulating the globe.

Environmental groups were quick to use the fire as yet another example of the dangers of oil and gas drilling, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, but even in Australia.

Others linked the continuing development of oil and gas reserves generally continue to drive climate change. The Pemex fire occurred in the same week that the town of Lytton, Canada set a national temperature record of 49.6ºC – over four degrees higher than the previous record – before the town was burned to the ground in a wildfire.

Banner Image: An undersea fire is filmed in the in Gulf of Mexico, June 3, 2021. Screenshot: Twitter.

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