Video: Subsea Gas Leak Creates Roiling Pit of Fire in Gulf of Mexico

Pemex file image

Published Jul 5, 2021 2:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, a burst gas pipeline at an oil field off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula caused a massive, roiling fire at the surface - a rare phenomenon for the offshore oil and gas industry. 

According to operator Pemex, the fire broke out at about 0515 hours local time on Friday. The source was a leaking 12-inch subsea gas pipeline located about 150 yards away from a satellite platform in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap oilfield complex in the Campeche Basin. 

"The incident was dealt with immediately . . . with the assistance of nearby firefighting vessels, such as the Santa Cruz Island, Campeche Bay and Bourbon Alienor," Pemex said. "In addition, the interconnection valves in the pipeline were closed, extinguishing the fire and the gas release, ending the contingency around 10:45 am and restoring normal operating conditions."

No injuries were reported and no evacuation was required, the company said. Angel Carrizales, the executive director of Mexico's Security, Energy and Environment Agency, said that the gas line rupture did not result in any release of oil. 

Pemex will be conducting a root cause analysis to determine the cause of the pipeline failure.The Ku-Maloob-Zaap complex turned 40 years old this year. The first well was spudded in 1979, and first oil from the Ku field was developed in 1981. Pemex has been investing billions to sustain its output, and today, it is the company's biggest producer. Together, the three fields account for 750,000 bpd of oil production and 800 million cubic feet of gas (44 percent and 16 percent of the national total, respectively).