Pemex Accused of Hiding Oil Spill in Campeche Sound

Photo: Deposit Photos


On Tuesday, July 18, a satellite analysis conducted by geographer Guillermo Tamburini revealed an oil spill in Mexico’s Campeche Sound spanning at least 400 square kilometers – an incident that has yet to be reported to authorities by Mexico’s state-owned oil company Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), which operates heavily in the area and is allegedly responsible for the environmental disaster.

According to Tamburini’s analysis, which was backed by the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Cemda) and Greenpeace Mexico, the spill likely began around July 4, grew to a size of 400 square kilometers by July 12, and may be as large as 1000 square kilometers as of July 17 – or nearly two-thirds the size of Mexico City.

“Despite the considerable extent of the spill, which as of July 12 extended to approximately 400 square kilometers – more than double the area occupied by the city of Guadalajara – the authorities have not given any notice about the causes and consequences of it,” Greenpeace Mexico environmental specialist Pablo Ramírez said in a statement for the organization.

“The complete lack of transparency with which this spill has been handled is worrying, given the possibility that it is an example of other similar incidents that go by without being quantified and without record. A review of the same area in June identified another spill with an approximate extension of 270 square kilometers,” continued Ramírez.

This newly revealed leakage adds to Pemex’s rising rate of oil spills, which increased from 550 incidents in 2018 to 850 in 2021, though it has yet to publicly comment on the new allegations against it. 

Likewise, the state-owned oil company’s overall accident rate has reportedly surged 152 percent over the last two years, only compounding Mexico’s reputation as lagging behind international climate standards.

“Mexico cannot and must not continue betting on a model based on the exploitation and sacrifice of populations and territories,” Greenpeace Mexico’s statement went on to say. “The climate crisis demands a drastic change in the energy paradigm and the direction of resources to the generation of renewable energy in a fair manner.”

The news comes just days after big three credit rating agency Fitch Ratings Inc. devalued Pemex from a BB- to a B+ rating on Friday, July 14, officially designating the Mexican oil company to a highly speculative investment grade.

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