When an underwater gas pipeline leaks, you have a problem. And with the Gulf of Mexico, that problem is quite literally water that had lit on fire and which has since been extinguished.
The raging fire kicked off west of the Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, Reuters reported. State oil company Pemex blamed an underwater gas leak and said the fire took about five hours to full extinguish.
Videos of the situation shared by journalist Manuel Lopez San Martin show a raging eye of fire that looks more like roiling lava than anything to do with water:
Here’s a little more background from the Reuters report:
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.
Ku Maloob Zaap is located just up from the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico.
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. It was completely extinguished by 10:30 a.m.
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. It’s a corrupt organization at its very core, so this latest fire is not a surprise.
Pemex's report noted that authorities used nitrogen to quell the flames, but it has offered few other details.