A fire has broken out at an offshore platform in the southern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday. The site was operated by Pemex, also known as Petroleos Mexicanos.

At least five people have been injured, as confirmed by the Mexican state oil and gas firm, Reuters reportedThe blaze happened at the E-Ku-A2 platform at Pemex's Ku-Maloob-Zaap oil field. The fire was reportedly under control at 4:30 p.m.

Local reports noted that the facility was operational when the blaze started, and workers were immediately evacuated. Billions have been pumped into the oilfields since its discovery in 1980, according to an Independent report. It was not the first Pemex incident that involved fire.

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Pemex's 'Eye of Fire' in Mexico

In July, a fire erupted on the ocean surface west of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula allegedly because of a gas leak from an underwater pipeline of Pemex.

Videos of the bright orange flames on the water's surface that resembled molten lava went viral on social media. People dubbed it the "eye of fire" for the fire's circular shape near a Pemex oil platform, another Reuters report said.

Pemex said it took more than five hours to fully extinguish the fire. The company noted that a lightning storm and a simultaneous gas pipeline leak set off the subaquatic fireball.

Pemex said that as the gas rose to the water's surface, it was hit with a lightning bolt from the storm, causing the fire to break out.

CBS News reported that the executive director of Mexico's security, energy, and environment agency, Angel Carrizales, earlier said that the pipeline did not generate a spill. Pemex further noted that there was no oil spill or environmental damage.

Journalist Manuel Lopez San Martin said the fire was just 400 meters from an oil platform. He also noted that four ships appeared to spray water at the huge "eye of fire."

Other Incidents Involving Pemex

The state oil company, operating 81 drilling rigs, has a history of major industrial accidents. Out of those drilling rigs, 11 are offshore.

In April, the company has developed a leak in one of its wells in Sota la Marina in Tamaulipas, Mexico. To prevent the flow of water and clay, the company said it would build a dam. They noted that the leak did not have any risk because the area was unpopulated.

A blaze has also broken out at the Tula-Salamanca pipeline in San Juan del Rio in February. The company said that it was later controlled and had put out the fire.

A Pemex-owned fuel pipeline in Tlahuelilpan, Hidalgo had also exploded in January 2019. The incident killed more than a hundred people because large crowds gathered at an illegal pipe drain to steal or get fuel.

After the incident, Pemex said the pipeline had been breached 10 times over three months. Authorities in Mexico blamed fuel thieves, who illegally tapped the pipeline.

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Written by: Mary Webber

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