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20239 Chemical accident in Mediterranean with natural gas (pressurized)
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General accident information
Class/Quality * * * *
Year 2004
Summary Well control incident at drilling rig caused
Natural gas overflow, release, explosion, fire,
Evacuation of drilling rig and platform and
Heavy damage
Country MEDIT.
Activity WINNING
Chemicals Natural gas (pressurized)
Cause Human-failure
Fatalities/Injuries 0 / 0
Occurrences or events Collapse/Destroy, Drilling, Evacuation, Explosion,
Fire, Fire, Fire, Fire fighting/Emergency response,
Fire fighting/Emergency response, Fire fighting/Emergency response, Fireball, Ignition,
Overflow, Release, Safety-measures, Subside/Sink,
Full accident information 
download accident report Click here to view a document containing the full accident information

Date : 2004 0810

The Petroleum Minister of Egypt ordered the destruction of an offshore natural gas platform that was still blazing after the 13th straight day. A special committee of experts supervised the demise of the platform in the deepwater gas field. The site was to be cleared and new wells drilled in the area. Production at the site came to a halt after a blaze started with an explosion and then destroyed ???Adriatic IV???, which was on location for 58/days, before spreading to the platform. It was reported a well control incident and a subsequent natural gas overflow caused the explosion.
The fire, which started about 0845 hours, was brought under control but it spread to a nearby jack-up drilling rig and erupted into a ball of flames jumping more than 20/meters in the air.
It appeared the well came in when nipplong down the BOP after cementing. Apparently control of the well was lost when it began to flow up the casing annulus following cementing and while nippling down to set the slips.
Workers were drilling holes in the leaking well to release gasses to contain the fire, while firefighters were dousing the platform with sea water. The blaze appeared to be burning itself out slowly as the flames were no longer as intense as they had been at the outset, but it was several days before the fire was finally extinguished.
The jack-up drilling rig sank and the platform was expected to e a total loss.
All 150 workers on the platform were evacuated in time to prevent any casualties. Also 44 workers and 35 contractors on board the drilling rig were safely evacuated. The rig was reportedly valued at 50E+6 USA dollars. The removal of debris was estimated at up to 12.5E+6 USA dollars.
The unit was a total loss and a claim was promptly paid by international energy insurers. Presumably there is still the potential for a claim for removal of wreckage expenses.
The platform and control of well is predominantly insured in OIL. Whilst in this stage the final cost is unclear, there are some concerns in the commercial market that the final figure may exceed the OIL limit of 250E+6 USA dollars.
The loss of property damage was estimated at 190E+6 USA dollars.

A jack-up drilling rig was drilling a natural gas well when a gas blowout occurred during drilling operations. There was an explosion followed by fire which was initially contained on the jack-up. For reasons unknown, the fire then spread to the platform where it continued to rage for over a week before being brought under control. More than 150 workers on the jack-up and platform were evacuated with no casualties. The drilling rig sank and was not salvageable. The platform was damaged beyond repair and its destruction was ordered by Egypt???s petroleum minister. Less than a year after the accident, production at the Temsah field was back on-stream at full production rates.

Blowout preventer/well pressure control equipment
It was a condition precedent to the recovery of indemnity under this policy that:
where the property insured is performing drilling, deepening, completion, workover, servicing or reconditioning, an operable blowout preventer(s) or other operable pressure control equipment of standard make will, when required in accordance with all applicable regulations, requirements and prudent and accepted practices in the industry, be set, installed, tested and maintained in accordance with such regulations, requirements and prudent and accepted practices; and
the insured will use every reasonable endeavour to comply with all regulations and requirements in respect of fitting of equipment to minimise damage and that all such equipment will be manned by properly certified personnel where required by regulatory authorities.

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