Octavio Romero, director of Pemex, assured that the stain in the sea is not due to a leak in the Sonda de Campeche pipeline, but that it is a natural phenomenon called “Chapopoteras”.
In a press conference, he pointed out that when placing new pipelines in the Ek-Balam field, a leak occurred, which was detected on June 3 and its repair was completed on July 22.
On July 18, Semar identified an oil leak 5.2 nautical miles long.
Romero accused the Reforma newspaper of not adequately reporting the incident, since the stains shown correspond to Chapopote, while a light oil is extracted in Ek-Balam.
Days later, on July 24th, PEMEX accepted that there was a leak, but President Andrés Manuel López Obrador minimized the situation, saying that the oil spill in the Campeche Sound was just a “small incident”, despite the fact that UNAM experts estimated that it reaches an extension of 467 kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico.
“It was a small leak,” was what President AMLO said when mentioning the issue of the two incidents recorded in the Ek Balam oil fields in the Campeche Sound, which a group of organizations warned could be twice the size of the leak.
“Pemex says that there are two very unfortunate events, a small oil leak already dissolved, very very very very small, nothing to do with what the newspaper Reforma said, and continues to say, 467 kilometers, that is, an exaggeration, an invention of that newspaper,” President López Obrador concluded.
The word Chapopote is a Spanish word that has different meanings depending on the context and the region where it is used. In Mexico, Chapopote is a common term for asphalt, pitch, or tar. These are substances that are used for paving roads, sealing roofs, or coating ships. Chapopote can also refer to the bitumen or crude oil that is extracted from the ground or the sea.
Chapopote comes from the Nahuatl word tzapotl, which means “resin” or “sap” of a tree. The word was adopted by the Spanish colonizers and later became part of the Mexican vocabulary. Chapopote is also used to describe the oil spills that pollute the coasts. Chapopote is also a slang word for black coffee in some parts of Mexico.