Offshore Drilling Accidents

Major offshore platform and drilling accidents in the oil and gas industry.


Below you will find a short overview of offshore drilling accidents during the offshore oil and gas activities since 1964.

To a certain extent, each accidental situation develops in accordance with its unique scenario.
The most typical causes of accidents include equipment failure, personnel mistakes, and extreme natural impacts (seismic activity, ice fields, hurricanes, and so on). Well blowout during drilling from offshore oil platform, have caused some and sometimes very large oil spills.

C. P. Baker drilling barge
C. P. Baker drilling barge burned and sank after a shallow gas blowout. Of the 43 crew on board, eight were confirmed dead with 13 missing, presumed dead and 22 injured.
Rig: C.P. Baker Drilling Barge
Date: 30 June 1964
Location: Block 273, Eugene Island, Gulf of Mexico
Operator: Pan American Petroleum Corporation
Fatalities: 22

Sea Gem
One of the first drilling rigs in the North Sea, the Sea Gem collapsed in 28th December 1965 as a result of metal fatigue.T he Sea Gem was the first British offshore oil rig, and the first British offshore rig disaster when in 1965, the rig's legs collapsed, killing 13 of the crew.
Rig: Sea Gem self-elevating barge
Date: 27 December 1965
Location: West Sole Field, Block 48, UK Continental Shelf
Operator: BP
Fatalities: 13

Union Oil's Platform A
The Santa Barbara oil spill occurred in January and February 1969 in the Santa Barbara Channel, near the city of Santa Barbara in Southern California. It was the largest oil spill in United States waters at the time, and now ranks third after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon and 1989 Exxon Valdez spills. It remains the largest oil spill to have occurred in the waters off California. In January of 1969, Union Oil began drilling a fifth oil well on their offshore Platform A, just over five miles from the coast of Santa Barbara, CA. On the morning of the 28th, drilling stopped for well evaluation. At 10:45 a.m., the well blew out, leaking oil and gas. A second blow out in a different well followed on February 24th.
Rig: Union Oil's Platform A
Date: 28 Jan , 1969
Location: Santa Barbara Channel, near the city of Santa Barbara in Southern California
Operator: Union Oil

Transocean 3
Transocean III self-elevating semi-submersible sanked in North Sea on 02 Jan 1974 .Between 29 Dec 1973 and 01 Jan 1974, the rig suffered progressive structural damage resulting from the storm conditions, leading to the evacuation the crew were transferred to the nearby Transworld 61 and Transworld 58 rigs.
Rig: Transocean 3
Date: 02 Jan 1974
Location: UK Continental Shelf
Operator: Mobil North Sea Ltd.
Fatalities: 0

Ocean Express
Another casualty of towline failure, the Ocean Express sank in 1976 during a storm in Gulf of Mexico.
Rig: Ocean Express Jack-up
Date: 15 April 1976
Location: Gulf of Mexico
Fatalities: 13

Ocean Master II
The Ocean Master II sank off West Africa in 1977 as a result of structural problems and bad weather.
Rig: Ocean Master II Jack-up
Date: June 1977
Location: West Africa
Fatalities: 0

Sedco 135F Triangular Semi-Sub / IXTOC I
The Pemex-operated Ixtoc I offshore well in the Campeche Bay of Mexico suffered a blow out, eventually spewing up to 3 million barrels of crude oil in the worst offshore spill in North American history.
Rig: Sedco 135F Triangular Semi-Sub / IXTOC I
Date: 03 June 1979
Location: Bahia de Campeche, Mexico
Operator: Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX)

Bohai 2
In 25 November 1979, the jack-up Bohai 2 capsized and sank in a storm while on tow off the coast of China. 72
Rig: Bohai 2 Jack-up
Date: 25 November 1979
Location: Gulf of Bohai, off China
Operator: China Petroleum Department
Fatalities: 72

Sea Quest
She discovered the UK's first North Sea oil on 14 September 1969 in the Arbroath Field. She also discovered the first giant oil field named Forties on 7 October 1970. Whilst working off Nigeria, the Sea Quest suffered extensive fire damage after a blowout in 1980 and was then deliberately sunk.
Rig: Sea Quest Semi-sub
Date: 17 January 1980
Location: Warri, Nigeria
Operator: Texaco

Alexander Kielland
Alexander Kielland, as a floating platform (semi-submersible accommodation rig) for off-duty workers, capsized in the North Sea.
Rig: Alexander L. Kielland Semi-Sub
Date: 27 March 1980
Location: Ekofisk Field, Norwegian Continental Shelf
Operator: Phillips Petroleum
Fatalities: 123

Petromar V Drillship
The Petormar V drillship sank in 1981 after a shallow gas blowout in the South China Sea.
Rig: Petromar V Drillship
Date: 27 Aug 1981
Location: Off Natuna Island, South China Sea
Operator: Mobil

Ocean Ranger
The Ocean Ranger semi-submersible drilling rig sank off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, while operating the Hibernia oil field. The accident, which occurred during a huge storm
Rig: ODECO Ocean Ranger Semi-Submersible
Date: 15 Feb 1982
Location: Well J-34, Hibernia Field, North Atlantic
Operator: Mobil
Fatalities: 84

Key Biscayne
The Key Biscayne capsized and sank off Australia's west coast in 1983 after flooding and towline failure. 0
Rig: Key Biscayne Jack-up
Date: 01 September 1983
Location: Ledge Point, Western Australia
Fatalities: 0

Glomar Java Sea Drillship
Glomar Java Sea Drillship- Another storm fatality, the Glomar Java Sea capsized and sank during Typhoon Lex in 25 October 1983, with the loss of all on board.
Rig: Glomar Java Sea Drillship
Date: 25 October 1983
Location: South China Sea
Operator: Arco
Fatalities: 81

Enchova platform
A blowout on the Enchova platform operated by Brazilian state oil company Petrobras in the Campos Basin caused an explosion and a fire that led to the death of dozens of workers.
Rig: Petrobras Enchova Central Platform
Date: 16 Aug 1984
Location: Enchova Field, Brazil
Operator: Petrobras
Fatalities: 42

West Vanguard
West Vanguard suffered explosion and fire in 1985 off Norway.
Rig: Smedvig West Vanguard Semi-Sub
Date: 06 October 1985
Location: Haltenbanken, Norwegian Continental Shelf
Operator: Statoil
Fatalities: 1

Ocean Odyssey
This 1988 North Sea blowout occurred whilst drilling an HPHT well on the Ocean Odyssey, resulting in the death of the radio operator.
Rig: ODECO Ocean Odyssey Semi-Sub
Date: 22 September 1988
Location: Shearwater Field, Block 22, UK Continental Shelf
Operator: Arco (now a subsidiary of BP)
Fatalities: 1

Piper Alpha platform
Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform . Piper Alpha platform exploded and sank while drilling in the North Sea in a field operated by Occidental Petroleum
Rig: Piper Alpha platform
Rig Operator: Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd.
Date: 6 July 1988
Location: North Sea
Fatalities: 167

Rowan Gorilla I
The Rowan Gorilla I was crossing the North Atlantic in 1988 when it capsized and sank after structural failure caused by bad weather.
Rig: Rowan Gorilla I Jack-up
Date: 15 December 1988
Location: North Atlantic
Fatalities: 0

Al Baz
Santa Fe's Al Baz jack-up burned and sank after a blowout in 1989 with the loss of 5 lives. 5 fatalities
Rig: Santa Fe Al Baz
Date: 28 April 1989
Location: Nigeria
Operator: Not known
Fatalities: 0

Seacrest Drillship
U.S. drilling ship Seacrest capsized during a typhoon in the Gulf of Thailand, killing more than 90 people. The Seacrest drillship capsized in 1989 during Typhoon Gay. The SeaCrest did not sink immediately after capsizing and stayed afloat for several days.The Seacrest drill ship - wreck discovered near Songklah, Thailand
Rig: Seacrest Drillship
Date: 03 November 1989
Location: Platong Gas Field, Gulf of Thailand ( Songklah, Thailand )
Operator: Unocal
Fatalities: 91

Interocean II
After a dramatic crew rescue in 1989, the Interocean II sank in a North Sea storm after towline failure.
Rig: Interocean II Jack-up
Date: 08 November 1989
Location: Southern North Sea, UK Continental Shelf
Fatalities: 0

Sleipner A Platform
A design error resulted in the structural failure in 1991 of the gravity base unit of the original Sleipner A platform.
Rig: Sleipner A
Date: 23 August 1991
Location: Norwegian Continental Shelf
Operator: Statoil
Fatalities: 0

Blake IV
In 1992, Blake IV and Greenhill Petroleum Corp. Well 250 , the blowout occurred as Blake Drilling & Workover Co., Belle Chasse, La., was deepening the Gulf of Mexico well. Plans called for abandoning Miocene D-4 sand perforations at 8,683-86 ft and 8,696-8,706 ft and recompleting in Miocene D-6 sand at 8,802-28 ft. Greenhill Petroleum's workover oil well blew out in Timbalier Bay, igniting after 2 days and taking 11 days to cap.
Rig: Blake IV
Date: 29 Sep , 1992
Location: Timbalier Bay field off Lafourche Parish, La.
Operator: Greenhill Petroleum
Fatalities: 0

Maersk Victory
A punch-through caused extensive damage to the Maersk Victory while working in Australian waters in 1996.
Rig: Maersk Victory Jack-Up
Date: 16 Nov 1996
Location: Gulf Saint Vincent, South Australia
Operator: Apache Energy Ltd for Canyon (Australia) P/L
Fatalities: 0

Mr Bice
Mr Bice was a jackup drilling rig sanked in 1998 in the Gulf of Mexico after structural failure and flooding.
Rig: Mr. Bice Jack-up
Date: June 1998
Location: Grand Isle, LaGulf of Mexico
Fatalities: 0

Al Mariyah Rig / NDC Al Mariyah
Al Mariyah Rig / NDC Al Mariyah jack-up rig collapsed and lost its derrick onto the platform below. In July 2006, after lying unused for a number of years, National Drilling Company awarded a renovation contract to the Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard Co. and the rig was sent to the Bahrain-based dockyard for a six month programme of refurbishment and upgrade work.
Rig: Al Mariyah Rig
Date: 15 April 2000
Location: Umm Shaif Field, United Arab Emirates
Operator: Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Co.
Fatalities: 4

P-36 offshore production platform
The P-36 offshore production platform operated by Brazilian state oil company Petrobras was rocked by explosions killed 11 people. It sank off the coast of Rio de Janeiro five days later, spilling some of the 10,000 barrels of fuel and crude it was storing into the Atlantic.
P-36 was at the time the largest floating semi-submersible oil platform in the world prior to its sinking on 20 March 2001.Rig was converted in Canada to the world's largest oil production platform.
Rig: P-36 Semi-Sub
Date: 15-20 March 2001
Location: Roncador Field, Campos Basin, Brazil
Operator: Petrobras
Fatalities: 11

Arabdrill 19
A leg punch-through in 2002 led to a blowout and fire which sank both the Arabdrill 19 and a production platform in Saudi's Khafji Field.
The Arab Drill 19 rig was renamed to Thule Power following transfer of ownership. On April 15, 2005, Thule Drilling completed a MNOK 250 equity offering.
Rig: Arabian Drilling Company Arabdrill 19 Jack-Up
Date: 30 September 2002
Location: Khafji Field, Saudi Arabia
Operator: Aramco
Fatalities: 3

GSF Adriatic IV
In August 2004, the Adriatic IV was on location over the Temsah gas production platform, off Port Egypt in the Mediterranean. The rig was drilling a natural gas well when a gas blowout occurred during drilling ops. More than 150 workers on the jack-up and platform were evacuated with no casualties. Global Santa Fe reported the Adriatic IV as sunk and not salvageable. The platform, owned jointly by BP, Italy's ENI and Egypt's General Petroleum Corporation was damaged beyond repair.
Rig: GSF Adriatic IV Jack-Up
Date: 10 August 2004
Location: Temsah, Mediterranean Sea, Egypt
Operator: Platform run by Petrobel
Fatalities: 0

Mumbai (Bombay) High North Platform
One of the worst accidents in the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) history. A fire destroyed the Mumbai High North processing platform off India's west coast, affecting 123,000 bpd of crude production, or 15 percent of the country's domestic output, and killing 12 people. The platform was owned by ONGC. Eleven persons were killed in the accident and 11 others are reported missing. Of the 383 personnel onboard the BHN complex, the Samudra Suraksha and a nearby offshore rig Noble Charlie Yester, 361 were rescued.
Rig: Mumbai (Bombay) High North Platform
Date: 27 July 2005
Location: Mumbai High, Indian Ocean
Operator: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)
Fatalities: 22

Usumacinta oil rig
Usumacinta, a mobile, self-raising drilling rig , during stormy weather, the Usumacinta rig collided with the Kab-101 platform off the coast of Mexico, causing fuel leaks and killing 21 workers who tried to flee in life rafts in one of state oil firm Pemex's worst accidents. In October 2007, 21 workers on the Usumacinta oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico died after the rig hit an oil platform in stormy weather. The Usumacinta rig was operated by PEMEX, Mexico’s state-owned oil company.
Rig: Usumacinta oil rig
Date: 21 Oct 2007
Location: Gulf of Mexico
Operator: PEMEX, Mexico’s state-owned oil company
Fatalities: 21

West Atlas Drilling Rig
It is considered one of Australia's worst oil disasters. The West Atlas mobile drilling rig leaked oil and gas into the East Timor Sea from the Montara oil field near Australia, and later sank after a fire. The spill continued for months before relief wells were drilled to plug the leak, depositing millions of gallons of crude into an ecologically sensitive marine ecosystem. The West Atlas rig is owned by the Norwegian-Bermudan Seadrill, and operated by PTTEP Australasia (PTTEPAA), a subsidiary of PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) which is in turn a subsidiary of PTT, the Thai state-owned oil and gas company was operating over on adjacent well on the Montara platform. The slick was released following a blowout from the Montara wellhead platform on 21 August 2009, and continued leaking until 3 November 2009 (in total 74 days), when the leak was stopped by pumping mud into the well and the wellbore cemented thus "capping" the blowout.
Rig: West Atlas mobile drilling rig
Date: 21 August 2009
Location: Montara oil field near Australia
Operator: PTTEP Australasia (PTTEPAA)
Fatalities: 0

Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig
Deepwater Horizon as a semi-submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit (MODU), owned and operated by Transocean and drilling for BP in the Macondo Prospect oil field about 40 miles (60 km) southeast of the Louisiana coast, along the U.S.A. Gulf Coast of Mexico on April 20, 2010 in 5,000 feet of water. This environmental disaster is now considered the second largest in U.S. history, behind the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936 (in some areas until 1940).
Rig: Deepwater Horizon
Date: April 20, 2010
Location: Southeast of the Louisiana coast / Gulf of Mexico
Operator: Transocean
Fatalities: 11

Aban Pearl
The exploration rig, Aban Pearl, was operated by PDVSA in the Gulf of Paria, near Trinidad and Tobago. A Venezuelan natural gas exploration rig sank in the Caribbean sea early on Thursday 13 May , 2010 . All 95 workers on the rig were rescued and there was no gas leak. Aban Pearl a semi-submersible offshore drilling rig owned and operated by Aban Offshore drilling company. It was registered in Singapore. In 2009, the Aban Pearl became the first offshore gas rig operated by the Venezuela's state-owned oil company PDVSA.
Rig: Aban Pearl
Date: 13 May , 2010
Location: Gulf of Paria/ near Trinidad and Tobago
Operator: PDVSA
Fatalities: 0

Vermillion 380
Mariner Energy's Vermillion Oil Rig 380 exploded off the coast of Louisiana, just 200 miles east of the sight where the Deepwater Horizon tragedy occurred. All 13 crewmembers were rescued by a supply ship. None were seriously injured. "Vermillion 380 is a fixed, manned production platform,". "It's not a well being drilled for oil, like BP's Macondo well and it's not a floating rig like the Deepwater Horizon." . The Vermilion Block 380 A Platform is a fixed offshore platform located in 340 ft (104 m) of water approximately 110 mi (180 km) off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform was originally installed as an oil and gas drilling and production platform in early 1980.
Rig: Vermillion 380
Date: 02 Sep, 2010
Location: South of Vermilion Bay, below Marsh Island, Louisiana
Operator: Mariner Energy
Fatalities: 0

KS Endeavour
Chevron’s KS Endeavour drilling rig burst into flames, approximately 6 miles off the coast of Nigeria. Chevron Nigeria Limited oil rig experienced an explosion six miles off the coast of the African nation. A possible failure of surface equipment during drilling operations may have caused the fire that erupted on board the jack-up KS Endeavour (300' ILC) offshore Nigeria early Jan 16
Rig: KS Endeavour
Date: 16 Jan, 2012
Location: Nigerian Delta Region
Operator: Chevron
Fatalities: 2



- From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Oil Rig Disasters Co / UK
-Rigsworld Offshore Staff

Weekly Rig Counts by Rigsworld News
Midwest Oil Gas -2000hp Drilling Rigs
Oil and Gas Tenders :
Drilling Rigs
Mud Pumps
Power Units
Oilfield Suppliers
Job Category

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

Rigsworld Oil Drilling News
Rigsworld : Daily Oil and Gas News
Contact Rigsworld :

Offshore Drilling Accidents

Major offshore platform and drilling accidents in the oil and gas industry