Petrobras ‘platform leak a close call’

Petrobras Oil Platform29 January 2014, News Wires – A Petrobras-operated platform off Brazil narrowly avoided a serious accident last week after a leak of oil, natural gas and poisonous hydrogen sulfide, according to a report citing the union that represents the company’s offshore workers.

The leak on the P-7 platform in the Bicudo Field in the Campos Basin in the Atlantic Ocean happened as workers were testing a well linked to the platform, Reuters cited Sindipetro Norte-Fluminense as saying.

While aligning a test separator, six bolts used to secure a device used to calibrate the well were sent flying,

The resulting gas leaks took 30 minutes to bring under control, the union said.

“Only luck prevented anyone from being hit and harmed,” said Marcos Breda, a union director, told the news wire.

“No one was hurt but both natural gas and hydrogen sulfate are poisonous and could have exploded if there was a heat source. This could have been far more serious.”

No oil spilled into the ocean, Breda said.

Petrobras did not immediately respond to requests for comment by the news wire on Tuesday.

A series of earlier accidents on older Petrobras platforms in the Campos Basin led to the government forcing the company to perform emergency maintenance on older production units.

This helped lead to lower output and revenue for two years.

Breda said the situation on the P-7 platform was made worse by a lack of sensors for hydrogen sulfide in the area where pipes that are connected to the well meet the platform.

Hydrogen sulfide is a common toxic gas found in oil and natural gas wells.

The P-7 has been in service for more than three decades and is one of Petrobras’ oldest platforms.

It is located about 120 kilometres from Brazil’s coast, and was the site of a 2001 accident in which 164 barrels of oil spilled into the ocean.

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