Latin America: Week in Review, Venezuela

Venezuelan Offshore Natural Gas Rig Sinks; 95 Workers Rescued and No Environmental Threat, Says Oil Minister

May 14, 2010 By Staff
An Off-Shore Platform

An Offshore Platform

Today in Latin America

Top Story – Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez announced Thursday that an offshore natural-gas platform sank off the country’s eastern state of Sucre.

All of the 95 workers on the Aban Pearl platform were rescued by a Venezuelan navy frigate around 2:20 a.m. and the sinking poses no threat to the environment, Ramírez said.

“To my sorrow, I inform you that the Aban Pearl gas platform sank moments ago. The good news is that 95 workers are safe.” President Hugo Chávez said on his Twitter page.

Ramírez announced an investigation into the platform’s sinking and said that the collapse happened “too fast,” given that it took only three hours between the detection of the first technical failure and the sinking of the Aban Pearl platform.

Around midnight the system failure occurred and the platform soon began to tilt due to an apparent fault with the flotation system.

According to Venezuela’s national oil company PDVSA, the gas well was immediately sealed and all safety valves activated before any leaking could occur.

The platform collapse comes just three weeks after the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank off the Gulf of Mexico, creating the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch

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