‘Eye of fire’ near Pemex Gulf of Mexico platform put out

A fire on the ocean surface dubbed the “Eye of fire” that broke out early on Friday in the Gulf of Mexico near Pemex’ Ku Maloob Zaap oil development was put out.

'Eye of fire' near Ku Maloob Zaap; Source: Manuel Lopes San Martin Twitter account

State oil company Pemex said on Friday that a gas leak from an underwater pipeline was responsible for starting the blaze captured in videos that quickly went viral.

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The company added that no injuries were reported and that 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.

Pemex, which had major industrial accidents at its facilities previously, added it also shut the valves of the 12-inch-diameter pipeline and that it would investigate the cause of the fire.

The bright orange flames jumping out of water resembled molten lava were quickly named ‘Eye of fire’ on social media due to the circular shape of the fire. The massive flames raged very close to Pemex’s largest oil crude producer – the Ku Maloob Zaap platform.

‘Eye of fire’ near Ku Maloob Zaap; Source: Manuel Lopes San Martin Twitter account

The fire began in an underwater pipeline that connects the platform at Ku Maloob Zaap oil development, four sources told Reuters.

Ku Maloob Zaap is located just up from the southern rim of the Gulf of Mexico and 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 were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains“, according to a Pemex incident report shared by one of Reuters’ sources.

Angel Carrizales, head of Mexico’s oil safety regulator ASEA, wrote on Twitter that the incident ‘did not generate any spill’ although he did not explain how the fire on the water’s surface was possible without any spill.

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Videos shared via social media showed emergency response vessels attempting to contain the fire – some with water, which is irony at its finest – while Pemex said that its workers used nitrogen to ultimately put it out.