Posts Tagged ‘aban pearl’

As we approach the end of 2022, I’m still waiting for:

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Aban Pearl listing off Trinidad in August 2009

While our interest in the sinking of the Aban Pearl pertains to what went wrong and why, former PDVSA board member Gustavo Colonel continues to question Aban Pearl contracting irregularities. Is PDVSA refusing to release the report on the Aban Pearl sinking so as not to draw further attention to these contracting issues?

The whole Board is responsible for the loss of about 800,000 barrels per day of oil production; for the fraudulent certification of “proven oil reserves” in the Orinoco heavy oil region; for the irregular contracting, with a ghost company, of the offshore drilling barge Aban Pearl for twice the amount really paid to the owners of the barge; for the importing of 180,000 tons of food that later went to rot in Venezuelan ports but provided some of the members of the board with millions of dollars in criminal profits; and in numerous other corrupt practices that are well documented.

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This is not the best translation (from Spanish by Google), but I think you get the gist:

A report is in the hands of the Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela (FUTPV) shows the “precarious” state that is the drill ship PetroSaudi Discover, which operates in the Gulf of Paria in the Gran Mariscal gas project Sucre. This platform, as declared by the executive secretary and coordinator of health and safety of FUTPV, Eudis Girot, bear the same fate as his partner Aban Pearl, black on 13 May 2009 in the same coasts, if not halted operations and taken to Trinidad and Tobago for repair.

“We already knew it was a scrap, just like Aban Pearl,” said a source.

More on the Aban Pearl.

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This is a must read letter from Gustavo Coronel, petroleum geologist and former member of Venezula’s Congress, to Alí Rodríguez Araque, Venezuelan Minister of Electric Energy.

You recently spoke in the National Assembly and challenged anyone who opposes the government’s petroleum policy to speak openly.

I take this opportunity to do so. I feel qualified to do this because, when you were a member of the Venezuelan guerrillas during the 1960’s, in charge of blowing up oil installations, I was active in building them. During much of my life I have produced oil while you have lived off the oil we have produced.

On the Aban Pearl:

The renting of offshore drilling barges, such as the Aban Pearl, which sank last year in Venezuelan waters, has been full of irregularities that I have denounced in much detail without any action being taken, so far.

Just a few days ago at an advisory committee meeting, some of us were talking about what an outstanding company PDVSA used to be. At Penn State, we had some very bright petroleum engineering students from Venezuela who went on to work for PDVSA.  I am sure they have some very interesting stories to tell about their careers and the changes in Venezuela’s oil industry.

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1. Helix has inked 19 Gulf of Mexico customers for its Deepwater Containment System. What will happen to the Marine Well Containment Company which was announced with much fanfare in July? Does it make sense to have two such consortiums operating in the Gulf?

2. No new reports on the Apache gas leak in the press or on the company’s website.  More transparency is needed in the post-Macondo era.

3. The Deepwater Horizon BOP testing remains a mystery. If you disregard the erroneous January 5th and 6th updates (which pertain to hearings held last summer), the official investigation website has not been updated since before Christmas. Given the importance of this work, the absence of status updates is disappointing.

4. Useful listing of deepwater Gulf projects in Offshore magazine.

5. The National Commission Chairs will appear before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee tomorrow.  The hearing will be webcast live beginning at 0930. Here is some pre-hearing chatter.

6. The Aban Pearl semisubmersible drilling rig sunk offshore Venezuela last May.  Will the world ever find out what happened? In fairness to Venezuela, they aren’t the only ones sitting on reports.

7. “The oil spill [has] definitely [been] blown out of proportion.” Judith McDowell is a highly respected scientist. If this is an accurate quote, it is quite significant.

8. Transocean wants to pay dividend.

9. Interested in serving on DOI’s Safety Committee?

10. A great painting completes the list!

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Now that Chile, with the help of the international community (including two companies from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where the drilling industry began), has rescued the 33 miners, can we drill into the Australian government and rescue the Montara and Varanus Island reports?

While we are at it, can we learn more about these accidents?

Let’s learn from past accidents, so we don’t need dramatic rescues in the future.

The offshore safety record will be suspect until industry and governments have credible, internationally accepted programs and policies for ensuring that accidents are independently investigated and that investigation updates and reports are released in a timely manner.

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Aban Pearl listing off Trinidad in August 2009

For those who haven’t been following this saga, the Aban Pearl, a semi-submersible drilling rig, sank off of Venezuela on 13 May 2010. The seas were calm and the skies were clear, so the cause of the accident is a mystery.  We have learned from a reliable and knowledgeable source that PDVSA, the national oil company of Venezuela, has conducted an official investigation to determine the cause(s) of this accident.  We urge them to release their report so that all may benefit from their findings.

While searching the web for other information on the Aban Pearl, I was surprised to find that the rig was reported to be listing offshore Trinidad & Tobago in August 2009, and that assistance was requested from the T&T Coast Guard. This incident occurred nine months before the rig sank offshore Venezuela.

According to Public Relations Officer at the T&T Coast Guard Lt Kirk Jean Baptiste, the T&T Coast Guard received a distress call from the rig around 2.45 pm. “The Coast Guard received a call that one of the flotation devices on the rig was taking in water which caused the rig to lean on one side,” he said. Sources said it belonged to an Indian company, but was registered in Singapore. They said it was not working, but just passing through T&T waters. Rigs are normally moved with the help of other boats.

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Aban Pearl

The Aban Pearl sank off the coast of Venezuela in May.  Shortly after the accident, Venezuela announced that a high-level commission would investigate. However, interested parties, inquiring through official diplomatic channels, have been unable to even confirm that the sinking is being investigated.

Until operators, contractors, and governments agree to conduct accident investigations and release reports in a timely manner, offshore safety objectives cannot be achieved.

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Aban Pearl

According to our 15 May post,  Venezuela established a special commission to investigate the sinking of the Aban Pearl, a semi-submersible rig that sank on 13 May 2010.  In the subsequent 3 months, we have not seen any updates on that commission or the status of the investigation.

BOE will also be tracking any reports on the recent crane failure and apparent fatality on the Jack Ryan, and the Bayou St. Denis blowout.  Let us know if there are other major offshore accidents that we should be tracking. With regard to the Jack Ryan, a description of the tragic crane accident is posted in a thread on the Oil Rig Photos site (see the 3 August post).

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