Transocean Oil Rig Explosion - Echoes of Piper Alpha?

photo : Upstream Today

An explosion on Transocean's 'Deepwater Horizon' oil rig at approximately 10 pm on Tuesday has left 11 people  missing and 17 in hospital, of which 4 are critically ill.

Ther rig is owned and operated by the Swiss company Transocean and was carrying out exploratory drilling on behalf of BP.

At presnet, authorities are unable to say when the flames might die out on the rig. A large column of black smoke was seen over the Gulf of Mexico as firefighters tackled the blaze.

Adrian Rose, vice president of Transocean, said the explosion appeared to be a blowout, in which natural gas or oil forces its way up a well pipe and smashes the equipment. But precisely what went wrong is still under investigation.

According to reports, a total of 126 workers were aboard. 79 were Transocean workers, 6 were BP employees and 41 were contractors.

Still far too early to draw any conclusions but the fact that so many are missing and that many more are injured means that a full and thorough investigation must be carried out as quickly as is possible.

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