Feb 6 U.S. regulators have told offshore rig
contractors in the Gulf of Mexico to inspect blowout preventers
(BOPs) after a faulty bolt was deemed responsible for a leak of
drilling fluid late last month.
The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said
on Wednesday that General Electric Co issued a safety
notice to customers on Jan. 29 regarding bolts used in its H-4
connector, which connects the BOP to the wellhead.
"Less than a third of the rigs operating in the Gulf were
affected by GE's safety notice," the BSEE said. "The inspections
and verifications are being done on a rolling basis."
Angie Sedita, an analyst at UBS, said BOPs made by National
Oilwell Varco Inc would also be affected, although
Cameron International Corp BOPs would not. She
calculated a total of 20 GE and 12 NOV BOPs in the Gulf, and
expected that 32 rigs off the coast of Brazil would need to be
inspected as well.
"The downtime would likely be at the expense of the contract
drilling company, but there would still be a discussion between
the driller and customer," Sedita said in a research note.
She estimated an impact of up to 10 percent of first-quarter
profits for the major rig operators Transocean Ltd,
Ensco Plc, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc and
Noble Corp, assuming five days downtime for each rig, but
far more in the worst case that could take as long as 14 days.
A Transocean official confirmed on Tuesday there was a plan
to replace the bolts as necessary, but added: "At this time, we
do not expect this issue to have a significant impact on our