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Possible ‘mega’ oil field could threaten Scorpions Reef

by Yucatan Times
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Jonathan Ruiz, an El Financiero newspaper contributor, writes about the recent news of the possible ‘mega’ oil field in Yucatán waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In his article, he gives his opinions and point of view about the topic.  

The Arrecife Los Alacranes (Scorpions Reef) is a paradise to which the Yucatecan community usually travels in private boats and where fishermen find lobsters in abundance. The area is full of turtles, tropical fish and sharks. Nonetheless, it seems that its neighboring region could be a reserve full of oil.

El Financiero recently published a note by Sergio Meana which mentioned that when a Norwegian company made a technical revision of Yucatán’s marine subsoil, they saw what looked like a resemblance of an oil reserve, similar or bigger than that of Brazil’s “Pre-Salt” polygon. However, the only way to check if there are any reserves is to drill a well; permission to do so is already in the process of being authorized. Ruiz mentioned that without the proper regulated procedures to carry out oil exploration and production, accidents can occur and create irreparable environmental damage.

Although it is near the Scorpions Reef, this natural area is safeguarded by the law. In December 2016, President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a bill stating the following: “Article Two. Exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons activities in the protected zone known as the “Yucatán Platform and Mexican Caribbean” are prohibited”, Peña Nieto decreed.

Arrecife Alacranes
Photo: Google

Notwithstanding, Jonathan Ruiz expressed that a tender has already put Yucatecans on guard against what they consider to be a possible serious threat to their environment. Round 2.4 of the National Hydrocarbons Commission (CNH) unexpectedly included Area 30 on the Yucatan Platform. It will be tendered at the end of January 2018.

In a statement given to the Por Esto! newspaper last week, Eduardo Batllori, Secretary of Urban Development and Environment Department of Yucatan, warned: “What concerns me is that they have opened it to the north and east of Scorpions Reef. Due to the area where it is located, which has water currents that go from east to west, any alteration in these zones, like an oil spill, would generate a direct impact on Scorpions Reef”.

“It’s a national park and it has protected areas. I’m concerned of what could happen if no control is taken. Thus, we will not continue unless we have more information”, added Batllori, who knows the pressure generated by locals in regards to oil activity in the state. Oil companies that arrive in Mexico with CNH tenders must show the benefits of their investments as fast as possible. Ruiz states that in order to continue their legitimate activities, these companies must not only give money to the government, but also employment and business to Mexicans, as required by law.

They [oil companies] have to prove that they are more efficient, clean and honest than Pemex. In the meantime, Area 30 of Round 2.4 will have to be monitored, which for many reasons can become a breakpoint of the country’s oil history.

SOURCE: El Financiero (1)  (2) 

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