Oil Rig Accidents

Oil Rig Explotions

Oil Rig Injuries

Noble Energy

Formerly known as Noble Affiliates, Noble Energy Inc. is a petroleum and natural gas exploration company. Based in Houston, Texas, the company currently operates across the US, the Middle East, Africa and South America.

History and a Brief Overview

The company was founded in 1932 by Lloyd Noble. Originally, it was based in Oklahoma, and it was called Samedan Oil Corporation.

In 1968, it acquired the company’s first offshore block for Gulf of Mexico operations.

Today, Noble has both onshore and offshore operations in various parts of the world. Currently, there are eight producing Noble Energy fields in the Gulf of Mexico. Recent developments have nearly doubled the company’s output, and the average net production is 30 MBoe/d.

Offshore operations are also taking place in the Mediterranean region (the Tamar platform delivers nearly 60 percent of Israel’s power generation supplies) and Douala Basin that’s located offshore of Equatorial Guinea.

The company’s total proven reserves are 1.4 billion barrels of oil, and Noble Energy is planning to have average daily production in the range from 415,000 to 425,000 barrels per day in 2017.

Fleet Overview

The company’s offshore drilling fleet features all of the following:

  • 14 drilling ships and semi-submersibles
  • 14 jackups (predominantly focused on ultra-deepwater and high specification drilling)

The fleet operating in the Gulf of Mexico consists of various company vessels and platforms like Noble Amos Runner (water depth of 8,000 feet and drilling depth of 32,500 feet), Tom Madden (water depth of 10,000 ft. and drilling depth of 40,000 ft.) and Paul Romano (water depth of 6,000 feet and drilling depth of 25,000 feet).

The Mediterranean fleet consists of five machines and platforms, while the African offshore equipment features four ships and platforms.

According to a recent fleet status report, the company has equipment and machinery operational since 2007. Some of the newest machines were added in 2014. There are older platforms and ships (like equipment built in 1980, 81 and 82) that have undergone renovation and rebuilding later on.

Offshore Accidents and Worker Injury Reports

The enterprise’s official website states that it is committed to ensuring both the safety of workers and environmental responsibility in the extraction process. Technological innovations are constantly being introduced for the purpose. Despite such improvements, however, accidents involving offshore workers have taken place through the years.

Here are a few of the most prominent media reports about offshore accidents involving Noble Energy equipment and individuals working for the company:

  • In 2017, a worker went missing from one of the corporation’s rigs in the North Sea. The Noble Lloyd Noble employee had been working on the installation for some time when coworkers reported that he was missing. Extensive searches took place on the platform and in the surrounding water. A search and rescue helicopter, as well as two vessels,  were used by Coast Guard, but unfortunately, the man hasn’t been found. The company issued an official statement saying that its emergency team has been supporting the search party and that all operations have been stood down during attempts to locate the man.
  • Another accident occurred on a semi-submersible platform in 2014. The rig was located off the coast of Brazil when ballast problems occurred. No oil spill took place, but 77 workers had to be evacuated.

Ever since the implantation of its No Harm initiative, the company has been publishing some safety and injury statistics suggesting that the risk for workers has been reduced. The program focuses on workshop and safety training.

Additional safety initiatives include the use of a simulation facility for practical training, emergency response drills and additional simulation exercises (one was recently carried out in Israel to maximize the safety of the offshore oil fields).

According to the official corporation reports, there were three incidents involving workers and 13 incidents involving contractors in 2013. In 2014, there were no incidents involving workers and 13 featuring contractors. The numbers for 2015 are two and ten respectively.

While such initiatives are important in a dangerous field, it is unlikely that injuries cannot be brought down to an absolute zero. The two examples mentioned suggest that even giants in the field like Noble Energy aren’t 100 percent prepared to handle such situations.

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