A video of a flaming, underwater gas leak in the Gulf of Mexico showcased an otherworldly scene that looked like something straight out of The Lord of the Rings. The video of the burning gas, dubbed the “eye of fire,” went viral over the weekend.
The fire started Friday when a leaking gas pipeline caught fire near an oil platform off the shore of Campeche, west of the Yucatan Peninsula. The 12-inch pipeline is owned by the Mexican company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, and is located in the Ku-Maloob-Zaap, an offshore oil field that produces around 40% of Mexico’s oil and gas.
The video shows several firefighting boats spraying ocean water with a nitrogen additive to help displace any oxygen helping the fire burn. The fire burned for about five hours, from 5:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Pemex reported no evacuations or injuries. The pipelines have been shut off, and the cause of the fire will be investigated, according to Pemex. The state-owned company has a history of industrial accidents, several of which resulted in the deaths of dozens of employees.
The ecological impact of the fire is currently unclear, but it is noteworthy that the fire likely burned most of the released gas, and it seems that no oil was spilled.
Since the area is so heavily drilled, it is likely there was little additional negative impact on marine life, hard as that may be to believe after watching the gnarly video.