Drilling Platform Sinks Off Venezuelan Coast

May 14, 2010 Updated: May 14, 2010

An offshore gas platform sank off the coast of Venezuela Thursday.

An incident turned on the alarms three hours before the sinking, giving personnel enough time to shut safety valves, disconnect a tube from the rig to the gas field, and evacuate.

Oil company PDVSA president and Venezuelan minister of Energy and Oil, Rafael Ramirez said the platform, owned by Indian offshore drilling company Aban Offshore, sank at 2:20 a.m. local time.

Aban Offshore, according to Indian media said in a statement, “Following an incident on the semisubmersible rig Aban Pearl, which impacted its stability, a decision was taken to evacuate all personnel.”

A massive water leak was the result, according to Ramirez. The platform, built in 1977 with a capacity of 98 men, is operated by a Venezuelan state energy company PDVSA, and was drilling at a depth of 524 feet.