Aban Offshore’s Aban Pearl semi-submersible drilling rig sank early this morning off the Paria Peninsula in eastern Venezuela.
Aban Offshore of India says that the rig sank “following an incident…which impacted its stability.”
Pdvsa declines to comment… por ahora.
The Aban Pearl was drilling the Dragon 6 non-associated gas well in 160 meters of water when it sank.
The Dragon gas field is part of Pdvsa’s Mariscal Sucre offshore gas production/liquefied natural gas initiative.
Other gas fields that Pdvsa is developing by itself in the first stage of the Mariscal Sucre initiative include Patao, Mejillones and Rio Caribe with dry gas, wet gas and gas with condensates, respectively.
The Dragon field is scheduled to start commercial production of at least 600 million cf/d by end-November 2012.
The Dragon field will include eight wells, a gathering platform and a 115-km, 36-inch underwater pipeline to a gas processing plant on the Paria Peninsula.
Energy ministry sources tell Caracas Gringo that the government’s intelligence service (Sebin) will investigate what caused the semi-submersible rig to sink.
Update: Ramirez says that the Aban Pearl’s alarm systems were triggered at 11:20 p.m. on 12 May after a failure was detected in the rig’s flotation systems. The rig’s 92 workers were evacuated when a tilt of 10 degrees was registered. But the captain and a small team of naval and oil well technicians stayed aboard several hours more. When the rig’s tilt reached 15 degrees, operators shut down and disconnected the gas well from the rig to prevent a potential environmental crisis in the area. The Aban Pearl reached a tilt of 45 degrees at roughly 1:30 a.m. on 13 May, at which point the captain and remaining technicians aboard were evacuated. The rig sank at 2:20 a.m.