'Serious Injury' on Offshore Drilling Rig

Monday, October 21, 2019

An Australian offshore energy regulatory body has issued a prohibition notice to Diamond Offshore following a serious injury to a worker on board one of its mobile offshore drilling units operating in the Bass Strait last month.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) said it pursued enforcement action against the operator after a worker suffered potentially fatal injuries cause by failed equipment during an operation to replace a drill line on the Ocean Monarch drilling rig on September 17.

Excessive tension caused a wire rope snake to break during the replacement of a 2” drill line on the draw-works, NOPSEMA said. The drill line fell from height to the drill floor below, causing significant harm to a member of the workforce.

"The tension applied by the draw-works was not monitored or reliably controlled to within the safe working limits of the snake as the old and new line are threaded through the crown block and travelling block sheaves. As a result, friction or snagging of the drilling line during spooling operations can lead to rapid increases in line tension, leading to failure at the weak point, i.e. the wire rope snake," NOPSEMA said in the notice.

NOPSEMA conducted an on-site inspection and determined that the operation must not be undertaken again until Diamond Offshore has implemented adequate systems and work practices to remove the threat to the health and safety of employees at the facility.

The offshore energy regulator said it continues to investigate the matter and noted that further enforcement action may follow if warranted.

On September 16, one day before the injury occurred, Cooper said it would wrap up its Otway gas exploration program early after two of Ocean Monarch's eight mooring chains failed, leading the company to delay the abandonment of Annie-1 and defer drilling of Elanora-1.

Cooper Energy said at the end of September that it is planning to secure a rig for another Otway campaign in which Elanora could be drilled in 2021, subject to rig and equipment availability.

Categories: Drilling Activity Rigs Australia/NZ Regulations Safety & Security

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