Petrobras rig evacuated after tilting, now stabilized
Friday, February 28, 2014

An offshore drilling platform, operated for Brazilian state-run oil company Petrobras , was partially evacuated after tilting on Friday, but there was no risk of it sinking, the company and the local oil workers' union said on Friday.

Crew members were evacuated to another rig after the SS-53 platform, located in the Campos oil basin off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, began to list at about 0100 local time (0400 GMT) Friday, a spokeswoman from the Sindipetro-NF oil workers' union said.

The platform had been stabilized and safety measures were being taken, said a Petrobras spokeswoman who declined to give further details. The union spokeswoman also said the rig had been stabilized.

The incident comes amid concerns that unresolved safety issues may cause fresh production stoppages for Petrobras on platforms in the Campos Basin, according to a report by the local newspaper Folha de S.Paulo on Sunday.

Production by Petrobras has stagnated for more than two years as new fields have been delayed, output from old fields has declined and the government has ordered platform shutdowns to perform emergency maintenance. Further stoppages could limit the growth of output that's expected with the start-up of new platforms this year.

The platform, also known as the Noble Paul Wolff, is owned by multinational drill-rig operator Noble Corporation and is operated in the Campos basin's Marlim field, Sindipetro-NF said. As a drilling rig, it does not pump oil.

The rig, which houses a maximum crew of 125, was built in 1980 and upgraded in 2006, according to Noble's website.

A spokesman for Noble in Brazil declined to comment.

The company said on Tuesday it would scale back near-term investments and set a limit on long-term growth in order to check years of missed targets, soaring costs and debt.

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