Oil Spill in Ek Balam / Fitch Ratings
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Oil Spill in Ek Balam / Fitch Ratings

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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Mon, 07/24/2023 - 13:02

Oil Spill in Ek Balam. President López Obrador described the oil spill in the Ek Balam oil fields, which are part of the Cantarell Complex owned by PEMEX, as an "exaggeration." He said it was "a very small leak" and criticized the media outlets that reported the news from experts at UNAM. According to them, two leaks occurred in the Ek Balam oil fields in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in an oil spill covering an area of 467km2 on July 12. The spill is likely to move in the east-northeast direction and eventually reach the coasts of the Mexican states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas or even the US.

The incident was reported on July 6 to the Agency of Safety, Energy and Environment (ASEA) and the Navy (SEMAR). UNAM announced that academics from the Institute of Geography (IGg) and the National Earth Observation Laboratory (Lanot) analyzed the event using radar images to track the affected area's extension. "These types of images essentially detect the texture of objects and it is possible to discriminate the hydrocarbon spill from the rest of the ocean surface due to differences in densities and wave patterns," Gabriela Gómez Rodríguez, an academic from IGg, explained.

UNAM pointed out that the Ek Balam fields are part of the Cantarell Complex, owned by the state-owned company, located 80km northwest of Ciudad del Carmen, in the state of Campeche, southeastern Mexico. The expert further clarified that there are various models of ocean currents that can be used to estimate the direction in which the oil spill will move.

AMLO Criticizes Fitch Ratings. President López Obrador criticized credit rating agencies on Monday, after Fitch downgraded the credit rating of PEMEX from "BB-" to "B+" with a negative outlook, last week. "When corruption prevailed in PEMEX, all public companies had very good ratings for PEMEX and CFE. It also reminds me of another rating agency; that is why the airport rating agency should not be taken into account," he argued. López Obrador emphasized that PEMEX's debt has decreased and dismissed Fitch's analysis as false.

The agency justified its decision based on "persistent weak operational performance," which resulted in lower scores on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria for the Mexican state-owned company. The downgrade "will limit PEMEX’s sources of financing from banks, investors and suppliers," warned the agency. This comes one week after an accident that resulted in two deaths on a PEMEX platform in Campeche.

Yucatan’s IE-TRAM. Yucatán Governor, Mauricio Vila Dosal, announced that the mobility project in the state, which will connect with the Mayan Train, known as IE-TRAM, is already 96% complete and will be operational next December. Moreover, he emphasized that this is the most modern and non-polluting transportation system currently used in some countries in Europe and the Middle East. He highlighted that this project has been made possible through the collaboration between the state government, the federal government, Banobras and the private sector.

Governor Mauricio Vila indicated that the three routes of this transportation system will connect more than 137 neighborhoods in three municipalities in Yucatán: Merida, Kanasin and Uman, as well as 80 educational centers and two Mayan Train stations, Teya and Uman, with Parque de La Plancha. He detailed that this electric system will have 32 operating units with the capacity to transport more than 25,000 users per day. Each of these units will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including USB ports, real-time geolocation for tracking the vehicle in the Va y Ven system app, 11 cameras for both road safety and passenger security and it will be fully adapted for passengers with different abilities. Mauricio Vila listed some characteristics of the IE-TRAM, describing it as a tram with the flexibility of a bus, 100% electric and completely silent.

Photo by:   Presidencia de la República

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