Disasters & Accidents

Mexico: No evidence of sabotage in Gulf pipeline blaze

Mexico City, Jul 5 (EFE).- Authorities have seen nothing to indicate that the rupture of an underwater pipeline resulting in a fire on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico was caused by sabotage, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday.

“It was an accident. We exclude that it’s anything intentional,” the president, known as AMLO, told reporters during his morning press conference at Mexico City’s Palacio Nacional. “We are going to repair the damage.”

State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and the environment department were already evaluating the consequences of the rupture, he said, celebrating that no one was hurt.

He pointed to a preliminary report that the Pemex conduit burst in an explosion apparently caused by lightning and noted approvingly that the fire was brought under control “relatively quickly.”

Pemex detected an escape of gas from the pipeline at 5:15 am last Friday and images of the fire raging on the surface of the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico circulated around the world.

The pipeline ruptured at a spot about 150m (yards) from a drilling platform in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap offshore field, which turns out more than 700,000 barrels of oil per day.

Greenpeace Mexico said in a statement that the accident showed “the grave risks of the fossil-fuel model,” urging governments “to put an end to licensing new oil and gas now.”

AMLO was asked Monday whether the incident in Campeche would lead him to reconsider his administration’s focus on bolstering heavily indebted Pemex and expanding refinery capacity to ease Mexico’s reliance on imported gasoline.

The leftist president replied that his energy policy was aimed at developing alternative sources and lessening dependence on fossil fuels.

“It is that way to such an extent that we already imposed a cap on extraction of crude. We will not extract more than 2 million barrels per day,” he said.

By the end of his term in December 2024, AMLO said, Mexico’s daily oil output will be just half the level it was during the 2000-2006 administration of President Vicente Fox. EFE csr/dr

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