Pemex battles with scientists over methane-leak report

The Ku-Maloob-Zaap oil field cluster off the coast of Campeche, Mexico. Photo: Courtesy

Pemex is refuting a scientific report tracing large methane emissions to an oil platform off the coast of Campeche.

The state-owned oil company said the Spanish research paper published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters had mistakenly included nitrogen and other gases in their calculations.

University scientists drew from satellite data that Pemex emitted about 40,000 tons of methane from the Ku-Maloob-Zaap oil field cluster over 17 days in December 2021. 

The alleged methane leak, reported by Reuters, caused renewed scrutiny on troubled Pemex. It is the world’s most in-debt oil company, the news agency noted.

Pemex said only 2,224 tons of methane — 5% of what the scientists estimated — was released from the Zaap-C platform during an “extraordinary” event, and that the rest was nitrogen and other gases not harmful to the environment. Still, that would be a very large amount of methane to release at one time and in one place, the Associated Press reported.

Pemex added that the report “lacked professionalism.”

The scientists told Reuters that they will explain their findings in more detail.

“For the time being, we can say that Pemex claims make no sense for a number of reasons, and it should be no problem to show that,” they wrote to Reuters.

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