It would be a major mistake on my part as the public comment period continues for the Biden Administration’s proposed five-year offshore drilling plan not to tear into the Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) kerfuffle that in recent weeks pitted an oil giant against a group of scientists. The conflict between Pemex and researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia stems from a paper published in June titled, “Satellites Detect a Methane Ultra-emission Event from an Offshore Platform in the Gulf of Mexico.”
What scientists found was that for 17 days in Mexican waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Pemex’s Zaap-C platform spewed 40,000 tons of methane into the atmosphere last December. This tracks with prior studies showing just how underreported methane emissions are by the oil and gas industry. That includes methane emitted from offshore drilling. Pemex pushed back and called the researchers liars, claiming that they had wrongly categorized the emission as methane when it was actually nitrogen and a mixture of gases the company claimed were innocuous.