Offshore safety watchdog launches investigation into West Phoenix rig fire

  • Exploration & Production

Norwegian offshore safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), has launched an investigation into a fire which broke out on the West Phoenix drilling unit on Monday, November 5, 2018.

The safety agency said on Thursday that this incident had occurred in the mud laboratory on the rig.

The fire was extinguished and no personal injuries have been reported as a result of the blaze, the PSA added.

West Phoenix is a semi-submersible drilling unit built to the Moss Maritime CS50 design built at the Samsung yard in South Korea and operated by North Atlantic Drilling. When the incident occurred, it was drilling in the Norwegian Sea with Equinor as operator.

An investigation team from the PSA has now started work on the rig, the PSA said.

Its objectives include clarifying the course of events, describing the actual and potential consequences, and identifying the direct and underlying causes in order to contribute to learning lessons and experience transfer.

Equinor, then Statoil, hired the West Phoenix drilling rig back in March 2018 for exploration drilling on the UK and Norwegian continental shelves. The semi-submersible rig was hired to drill an exploration well for the Ragnfrid North license on the NCS, followed by three wells on the UKCS.

The Norwegian well, for which Equinor received safety clearance from the PSA back in June 2018, is investigating a prospect named Ragnfrid Nord, just south of the Kristin field in the central Norwegian Sea.

In the UK, the West Phoenix was hired to drill on the Pip prospect, located in the Fladen Ground Spur area in license P2318, and the Bigfoot prospect, located some 30 kilometers south of the Mariner field, in license P2314. The rig was also hired to drill the Verbier appraisal well, which is expected in mid to late 4Q 2018.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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