Reuters: Petrobras asks Odebrecht to stop drillship operation after fatal accident

Brazilian oil company Petrobras has reportedly asked offshore drilling contractor Odebrecht to stop operations of the Norbe VIII drillship, on which three workers died in June after an explosion.

According to a Reuters report on Tuesday, Petrobras carried out an investigation into the causes of the accident that happened on the Marlim field in June.

The news agency cited an undated internal memo reportedly shared by Odebercht Oil and Gas, CEO Roberto Simoes, according to which Petrobras asked Odebrecht to comply within 15 days.

Reuters reported that the had rig resumed work at the field in July. It’s unclear what the Petrobras request really means for the rig contract.

Odebrecht’s website still lists the rig as under a contract with Petrobras. Moreover, Petrobras has been listed a the hirer of Odebrecht’s whole fleet of two semi-submersible drilling rigs and four drillships.

As for the Reuters report on the Norbe VIII, Offshore Energy Today has reached out to Petrobras seeking confirmation, and more info on the alleged work halt request.

In a response sent to Offshore Energy Today, Petrobras said: “Petrobras has not made any decision related to cancelling the contract for service provision and to charter NS-32 (Norbe VIII).”

The company did not say if the drillship was still drilling, nor whether it had indeed sent the work halt notification to Odebrecht.

Marlim incidents

As for the June incident, three workers died, and one was injured after a boiler exploded on the Odebrecht-run NS-32 (Norbe VIII) drilling rig offshore Brazil on Friday.

The accident happened during the service work on a rig boiler. There was no subsequent fire or the impact on production of the Marlim Field.

Petrobras said at the time there was no risk of leak, adding it had notified all the competent authorities about the incident.

Worth noting, the Marlim field has been plagued with accidents this year. Just this past weekend, a worker was been injured aboard the P-37 floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel operated by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras at the Marlim field.

Brazilian oil workers’ union Sindicato dos Petroleiros (Sindipetro) do Norte Fluminense said on Sunday that the accident on the P-37 occurred on Saturday, November 4.

The incident involved an ELFE boiler that was shipped on the P-37 and, according to Sindipetro, could have resulted in a loss of life. The worker was injured during a pressure discharge which had not been indicated by the designated instruments.

Apart from this, in March this year, a helicopter had a rough landing and crashed into the heliport of the Petrobras-operated P-37 FPSO.

Also, there was a collision between a support vessel and a Petrobras-operated FPSO, as well as an incident with a riser of the P-19 which was dropped and caused a leak of oil into the sea.

“The number and severity of accidents shows that we are getting closer to a catastrophe, but the management of the company makes a point of wanting to deceive itself by disclosing a smaller numbers of accidents,” said Sindipetro on Sunday.

Sindipetro added that the worker was evacuated using a medical aircraft and was given medical attention.

Tezeu Bezerra, general coordinator of Sindipetro do Norte Fluminense, said: “The union has appointed director Guilherme Fonseca in the investigative commission, which will show, once again, that the company’s persistence of not listening to the workers and their warnings about the current safety situation is a serious problem and a cause of these accidents.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff