Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. said equipment on a rig under lease to BP Plc (LON:BP) accidentally broke free during a storm and sank to the bottom off the UK coast. No one was injured and no crude leaked into the ocean.
The Feb. 1 “equipment incident” involved the Ocean GreatWhite rig about 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of the Shetland Islands, the company said in a US filing on Monday. BP is leasing the vessel through at least August. Diamond Offshore describes it on its website as “one of the world’s largest ultra-deepwater harsh environment semisubmersible” rigs.
BP “is aware of the incident involving the Ocean GreatWhite drilling rig and we are providing any necessary support to rig operator Diamond Offshore Drilling,” Paul Takahashi, a spokesman for the oil company, said in an email. He referred inquiries about the vessel to Diamond Offshore.
A key device on the seafloor sealed off the well so that no oil or natural gas escaped, Diamond Offshore said. It was the failure of just such a device — known as a blowout preventer, or BOP — that contributed to the deadly calamity aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon in the US Gulf of Mexico almost 14 years ago.
In the 2010 incident, the BOP failed to operate properly, allowing explosive gas to rush to the surface, killing 11 workers and destroying the rig.
Diamond Offshore didn’t provide more precise details about the location of the accident but offshore wells in that region typically lay below more than 3,500 feet of water.
“At the time of the incident, the rig was not carrying out any drilling activity,” the company said, adding that it’s investigating the cause of the separation. “No employees were injured, the rig maintained its structural integrity and the well is secure” with the blowout preventer in place.