Drilling rig collapses in Nigerian delta

Drilling rig Majestic capsized in Nigeria’s Delta State on Tuesday August 15th, killing one and leaving three missing, according to the charterer. Nigerian oil company Seplat said that “Seplat Energy regrets to announce a serious incident on the Depthwize swamp drilling rig Majestic in the early hours of this morning.

The rig was under way to a new drilling location at the Ovhor oil field, which is some 25 miles inland in the creeks of Delta State, when it capsized.

While 92 crewmembers were rescued from the rig, there was one fatality that occurred during the capsizing. Three more workers remained missing; search operations were underway. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the crew member who sadly lost his life and the three crew members who are still missing,” said Seplat CEO Roger Brown.

Majestic is one of three swamp-specific drilling rigs operated by Lagos-based shallow-water drilling company Depthwize.

Seplat said that it would launch an investigation into the cause of the capsizing, and that it was working with local authorities on the emergency response.

Seplat, an independent Nigerian upstream and midstream company, focuses on purchasing maturing fields from oil majors. It has been working to acquire ExxonMobil’s shallow-water assets in Nigeria, but the deal had been stalled since last year due to local regulatory hurdles. The $1.3bn sale, if it goes through, would quadruple Seplat’s oil production to about 130,000 bpd. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) holds the other 60% stake in the four licenses covered by the Seplat-Exxon deal. However, NNPCL has attempted to block the sale. It claims that it has a priority right to buy Exxon’s stake.