Everyone has had the innocent question ‘can water catch fire?’ pop up in their mind at least once in their lifetime. Well, a gas leak in the Gulf of Mexico gave us something very close to that yesterday.
An underwater pipeline operated by the Mexican oil and gas company Pemex ruptured sometime around Friday and led to a fire that raged for hours at the surface of the ocean off the Gulf of Mexico. According to Reuters, the pipeline connected to a platform at Pemex’s Ku Maloob Zaap oil development.
Videos surfaced on the internet of the resultant ‘eye of fire’ and the efforts going on to put it out. Nitrogen was used for this purpose and it reportedly took 5 hours to completely put out the fire. Pemex says that there were no injuries reported in the incident. The valves of the pipeline have been shut down but production for the project was not affected, according to Pemex.
The first video was posted by Twitter user Manuel Lopez San Martin and it shows the surface of the ocean burning up in a spectacle eerily resemblant to the Eye of Sauron itself. Further videos showed numerous ships being deployed to put out the fire.
Thankfully, there was no spill generated by the fire, according to the head of Mexico’s oil safety regulator ASEA. A preliminary report by Pemex says that the turbomachinery at the platform was affected by an electrical storm and heavy rain that may have led to the rupture. Further investigations will be carried out to determine the full cause.