Mexico's Pemex denies large methane emissions from Gulf of Mexico platform

MEXICO CITY, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Mexican state oil company Pemex said late on Wednesday that a study by scientists that uncovered large methane emissions at a platform in the Gulf of Mexico was incorrect and had mistakenly included nitrogen and other gases in their calculations.

Scientists, in a research paper published by Environmental Science & Technology Letters in June, calculated from satellite data that Pemex emitted about 40,000 tons of methane from the Ku-Maloob-Zaap oil field cluster over 17 days in December last year.

Their work is part of a wider study funded by the European Space Agency, in which scientists are working to detect and quantify human-made emissions from space.

The alleged methane leak caused renewed scrutiny on Pemex, the world's most indebted oil company that is under increasing pressure over its environmental record.

In the statement released late Wednesday, Pemex said only 2,224 tons of methane was released from the Zaap-C platform during an "extraordinary" event, and that the rest was nitrogen and other gases not harmful to the environment.

"There are no large methane emissions," Pemex said, adding that the scientific study was "incorrect" and "lacked professionalism."

Contacted by Reuters, the scientists behind the study rebuffed the Pemex statement and said they would explain their findings in more detail in due course.

"For the time being, we can say that Pemex claims make no sense for a number of reasons, and it should be no problem to show that," they said in a written response sent to Reuters. (Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher Editing by Marguerita Choy)