The head of Mexico’s state-owned oil company contends oil washing up on the country’s Gulf coast beaches could not have come from a spill of about 1,350 barrels caused by a pipeline leak
MEXICO CITY — The head of Mexico’s state-owned oil company contended Wednesday that oil washing up on the country’s Gulf coast beaches could not have come from a spill of about 1,350 barrels caused by a pipeline leak, suggesting it came from natural seepage from ocean-floor vents.
Octavio Romero, the director of the state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos company, better known as Pemex, said an aging underwater pipeline sprang a leak at the start of July.
Romero said that because the company did not have the right size fitting on hand to repair the pipe, oil continued leaking for 18 days. The pipeline, located just off Mexico’s southern Gulf coast, was finally fixed late last week.
Romero argued the type of light crude spilled from the Ek-Balam field throughout the first half of July could not have formed thick tarry lumps like those reported on beaches in the Gulf coast states of Tabasco and Tamaulipas.
There is natural underwater seepage from offshore oil fields in the Gulf. Romero said researchers estimate that such seepages amount to about 380 barrels per day. But he did not explain why the oil appeared to be washing up on beaches in greater amounts after the spill.
He said local media had “distorted” reporting in what he called their “disproportional” coverage of the spill.
The spill was the second accident at Pemex’s offshore facilities in the Gulf this month.
On July 7, an explosion and fire destroyed an offshore gas platform. Two workers died, eight were injured and one was missing, officials said.
That disaster happened on the company’s Nohoch gas transfer platform. It said the dead and missing workers were employed by a subcontractor and three of the injured were company employees and five worked for the subcontractor.
#Mexicos #stateowned #oil #company #suggests #oil #washing #beaches #natural #seepage