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Huge ‘Eye of Fire’ Burning in Gulf of Mexico Extinguished

“The Gulf of Mexico was on fire,” quips a headline at Jalopnik. Long-time Slashdot reader phalse phace explains that “A rupture in an underwater gas pipeline operated by Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (or Pemex) caused a fire to erupt in the ocean west of the Yucatan Peninsula.”

Reuters reports:
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. The fire took more than five hours to fully put out, according to Pemex.

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 5:15 a.m. local time… 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% of its nearly 1.7 million barrels of daily output. “The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap’s active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains,” according to a Pemex incident report shared by one of Reuters’ sources.

Jalopnik supplies some context:
Right now, there’s no confirmed cause of the leak, but Pemex has said it’ll be investigating what happened. The main issue is, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened under Pemex’s watch. It has caused massive oil spills, deadly explosions, and tanker fires that have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people dating back to the late 1970s. The company has also racked up a fairly significant list of alleged human rights violations at its facilities, with a long history of denying unionization and punishing those who attempted to unionize.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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