UPDATE 3-Crew evacuated from Petrobras rig after it tilted; now stable

Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:25am EST

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SAO PAULO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - 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 platform's owner, the
company and a labor union said.
    Crew members were moved to another rig after the SS-53
platform, in the Campos oil basin off Rio de Janeiro, began to
list at about 0100 local time (0400 GMT) Friday, according to
Noble Corporation, the platform's owner.
    In the "ballast control incident," 77 non-essential
personnel were evacuated, Noble said in a statement. There were
no injuries and no pollution was caused, it said.
    A Petrobras spokesman said the platform was stabilized and
disconnected from the well after tipping as much as 3.5 degrees.
    "The incident occurred due to flooding in one of the tanks
of the vessel, caused by failure of the ballast system, which
controls the stability of the valve unit," the spokesman said in
an emailed statement.
    As a drilling rig, the platform does not pump oil or
contribute to current Petrobras production. 
    Known as the Noble Paul Wolff, the rig operates in the
Marlim field, which covers old producing wells and new areas
being developed in the deeper subsalt area.
    Workers had been repairing a well on the platform, said Jose
Maria Rangel, director of Brazil's national oil workers
federation.
    Rangel said 113 workers had been on the rig, which carries a
Liberian flag.
    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. 
    "We still have a long way to go in the area of oil safety,"
Rangel said. "Oversight units have not accompanied the growth of
the oil industry."
    A limited crew of 36 specialists remained on board to
restore the platform to normal conditions and internationally
accepted safety measures, Petrobras said.
    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 rig, which houses a maximum crew of 125, was built in
1980 and upgraded in 2006, according to Noble's website
    Petrobras 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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