Oil company blames gas leak for fire on ocean’s surface in Gulf of Mexico

A fire on the ocean surface west of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula has been extinguished after more than five hours.

State-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (known as Pemex) blamed a gas leak from an underwater pipeline that connects to a platform at its Ku Maloob Zaap development.

The fire was reported at 5.15am Friday, local time, about 150 metres from the KU-C satellite platform, Pemex said in a statement.

“The incident was dealt with immediately when the security protocols were activated and with the accompaniment of nearby firefighting vessels such as Santa Cruz Island, Campeche Bay and Bourbon Alienor.

“In addition, the interconnection valves in the pipeline were closed, extinguishing the fire and the gas release, ending the contingency around 10.45am and restoring normal operating conditions.”

No injuries or evacuations were reported, it added.

A source told Reuters news agency that the “turbomachinery” of the plant’s “active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains”, although this was not mentioned in the company’s statement.

Pemex workers had used nitrogen to control the fire, another source said.

Ku Maloob Zaap accounts for nearly 40% of Pemex’s crude oil production but the company has a long record of accidents at its facilities.

Pemex said Friday’s fire would be investigated.

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