Pemex CEO admits oil spill, but plays down its significance

Pemex CEO Octavio Romero last week said that an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this month was fixed and quickly and was less serious than academics had calculated.

The CEO of the Mexican state energy oil business denied every denying that there had been a leak. “I never said that there wasn’t a leak, there was,” Romero told reporters during a press conference.

Pemex had come under intense pressure from NGOs and researchers from the country’s top university to explain an oil spill recently detected from satellite images. Romero said the leak, which was first detected internally on July 3rd, was much smaller than reports, and that it had been fixed completely by July 10th.

Researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) had backed Greenpeace and other non-governmental organizations that first published the satellite images.

Having analyzed the direction of ocean currents, Gabriela Gomez, an academic at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) said that the slick would probably head east-northeast and eventually reach the Gulf coast in Veracruz or Tamaulipas states or the US.

Researchers at UNAM’s Institute of Geography and its National Earth Observation Laboratory calculated the patch of oil was some 467 square kilometres (180 square miles) in size.

Greenpeace had calculated a similar size; Greenpeace also noted there had been other oil spills of varying sizes from Pemex’s vast oil and gas infrastructure.

Pemex issued a statement last week saying only 58 cubic meters (2,048 cubic feet), or 365 barrels of oil, escaped from two small leaks, and that this would have affected an area of 0.06 square kilometres.