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MEXICO
Pemex restores wetland
Latinamerica Press
4/30/2015
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Bodies of water and flora and fauna were restored in wetland damaged from the impact of decades-long petroleum operations.

More than 370 hectares of ground and bodies of water in the Santa Alejandrina wetlands, near the Lázaro Cárdenas de Minatitlán refinery, in the southeast state of Veracruz, were restored by the state-owned company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and the National Polytechnic Institute (NPI).
 
In a statement released on Apr. 20, Pemex informed that “specialists from the Security, Health and Protection Sistems of Pemex, in coordination with technical staff of the Advanced School of Chemical Engineering and Extractive Industries of the NPI since 2010 have carried out the last phase of the restoration project that involved the removal of more than 417,000 square meters of exposed crude petroleum.”

Pemex affirmed that “the petroleum deposited in the wetlands for decades and recovered by this program will be reused as asphalt by mixing it with oxidizing agents.”

The oil recovery program facilitated the clean-up of the waters and the return of birds and fish and included the planting of more than 25,000 trees of diverse varieties in the recovered ground.

The Santa Alejandrina wetlands play an important role in the regulation of the hydraulic flow of the Coatzacoalcos River, principal tributary of the southern part of the state.

Miguel Tame Domínguez, director general of Pemex-Refining, pointed out that the recovery program is one of the most ambitious environmental projects undertaken by the company.

“The zone could be the site of an environmental education center oriented principally to the viewing of migratory birds that come to this place which is an important stop in their trip between the north and south of the American continent.”

Platform explosion
However, Pemex has been involved in serious incidents which have caused grave environmental damages.  The most recent is the explosion on the Abkatun Alfa platform, in the Campeche Sound, in the Gulf of Mexico, which happened on Apr. 1 and resulted in four deaths and dozens of wounded.

Pemex insisted that the incident did not cause a petroleum spill; however, the environmental organization Greenpeace denounced Pemex’s “lack of transparency” and “the obvious intent to downplay the magnitude of the damages.”

“This event in the Campeche Sound [one of the largest petroleum deposits in Mexico], in addition to the continuous oil leaks on land and in shallow waters throughout the Mexican territory, shows that the energy reform — completely oriented to petroleum exploitation and leaving aside the promotion of renewable energies — continues to be a risky business, inefficient, and to put Mexico on the path to a future with more greenhouse gas emissions and more climate change.”

Greenpeace demanded an independent investigation of the disaster that brought to light “once more that betting on petroleum is a mistake from whatever point of view: budgetary, environmental, social and employment.”

Pemex, created in 1938 with the nationalization of foreign companies, is the sixth largest producer of petroleum and the tenth largest producer of natural gas in the world.  It extracts daily 2.5 million barrels of petroleum and more than 6 million cubic feet of natural gas.  It has six refineries, eight petrochemical plants and nine gas processing facilities, besides both territorial and maritime terminals, petroleum and natural gas pipelines throughout the country.  Its sales are more than US$106 million annually.
—Latinamerica Press.


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The Santa Alejandrina wetland restored by Pemex in Veracruz. (Photo: Pemex)
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