A recent Reuters analysis of previously unreported United Nations data revealed that Mexico’s state energy company, Pemex, discharged substantial amounts of methane from an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico last year. Despite notifications to the Mexican government by the UN agency regarding issues at the Zaap-C platform, leaks persisted, casting doubt on Pemex’s previous denial of any leaks and its response to the situation.
The data indicated that even months after academic researchers initially reported significant methane leaks from the platform in 2022, emissions continued to occur frequently and in large quantities. This is concerning as reducing methane leaks from oil and gas infrastructure is crucial in combating climate change, with methane being a potent driver of global warming.
Mexico, among other nations, has committed to reducing methane emissions, making the recurrence of leaks from the Pemex platform a notable issue. The UN’s International Methane Emissions Observatory launched a program in 2023 to identify and notify governments and energy companies of large methane emissions, with the expectation that leaks will be promptly addressed once flagged.
Reuters’ analysis identified a cluster of methane plumes off the coast of Mexico, corresponding to the location of the Zaap-C platform. Despite notifications sent to the Mexican government, Pemex, as well as relevant government agencies, did not respond to requests for comment. Additionally, it remains unclear whether Pemex has taken steps to address the leaks, as data from the UN program does not provide real-time monitoring.
The revelation underscores the urgent need for effective monitoring and mitigation measures to curb methane emissions, particularly from oil and gas operations, to mitigate their impact on climate change.