By Njoroge Ahmad, in Luanda
Chevron Corp. has, for the second time in 20 months, experienced a rig accident in a shallow water operation off the coast of West Africa.
Perro Negro 6, a Saipemowned rig working for the San Ramon based major, sank offshore Angola on the night of July1, 2013, after the seabed collapsed under one of the rig’s three legs. The rig was being positioned for drilling operations near the mouth of the Congo River, before it sank.
Perro Negro 6 is a self elevating drilling platform. A relatively new facility, it was built by Labroy Shipyard in Batam, Indonesia and commissioned in 2009. The rig was under contract with Chevron Corp. through early 2015.
The Angolan incident comes in the space of one year and six months after a Jack up rig operated by a local contractor caught fire offshore Nigeria. In mid January 2012, a fire ignited aboard the K.S. Endeavor, a drilling rig offshore operated by FODE Drilling Nigeria Limited. The rig was drilling a natural gas exploration well, located in Chevron’s Funiwa Field, 10 kilometers offshore and in approximately 12 meters of water. The fire finally went out on March 2, 2012, a month and half later, as the well bridged over and plugged itself, thereby shutting off the flow of natural gas that had been feeding the fire. Chevron, however finalized a relief well so that the failed Funiwa-1A well could be properly plugged and abandoned.
Saipem, which released the statement on the Perro Negro disaster, said that the rig had no personnel on board at the time it capsized and sank at around 10:30am local time, on July 1, 2013. The rig-owner added that one person was missing and six sustained minor injuries. “After the sudden and significant tilting, among the 103 crew members, one was recorded missing and another six incurred minor injuries,” Saipem said. “At this moment, no environmental impacts have been reported, and all the prevention measures are being implemented.”