May 13th, 2010
11:49 AM ET

Gas rig sinks off coast of Venezuela, government says

Venezuelan government officials said Thursday they are investigating why a natural gas rig sank off the nation's coast in the early morning hours, the state-run energy company said.

All 95 workers on board were rescued and no gas leaks were detected because safety valves cut off the flow, said the company, Petroleos de Venezuela, also known as PDVSA.

The Aban Pearl platform, in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Sucre state, started to list at 11:23 p.m. Wednesday, PDVSA said on its website. An inspection of the four support columns detected massive flooding and an evacuation was started, the company said.

The captain and two engineers stayed aboard until the rig listed to 45 degrees and then also evacuated, PDVSA said.

No environmental damage occurred, the company said.

The rig was extracting natural gas from a well called Dragon 6, which was immediately sealed, PDVSA said.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez broke the news of the rig's sinking on his Twitter account, @Chavezcandanga.

"With sorrow I inform you that the gas platform Aban Pearl sank a few moments ago," Chavez wrote around 3 a.m. "The good news is that the 95 workers are safe."

He posted another tweet a few minutes later that said, "They were evacuated and at this moment two patrol boats from our Navy are moving to the area. We will go forward and will TRIUMPH. Viva VENEZUELA."

The rig workers were picked up by the tanker Petro Saudi Discover and were transported to land, some by helicopter. Four of the workers appeared later Thursday at a briefing on the incident broadcast by the government-owned VTV station.

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Filed under: Venezuela
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Tracy

    We had a chance to have all that safety equipment...BP and other oil companies lobbies our government not to require it because the vlave costs *gasp* a half a million dollars. Chavez, seemed to think it was important enough to, there you have it! THANKS BIG OIL & CONGRESS!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AccidentalAmerican


    It's not an accident if a company puts profit over safety concerns, it's a preventable disaster and the offending company must pay for it – big time. Don't let these bozos off the hook like that. They've destroyed many industries here.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sskurnack

    WOW.......let's look at all these "intelligent" and braind-dead comments......seems to be a really "mature" audience here.....LOL!!!!!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jorge

    I wouldn't doubt that it was all scripted just to make the US look bad. Hugo Chavez is a propaganda machine and I'll bet the whole thing was staged. They may have even sacrificed a real rig just to make it look legit. When was the last time a rig sank like that anywhere else? Who do so many idiots praise Venezuela and blast the US without really knowing what happened at either place...

    May 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Imyou

    The official statement reads, One hour before the gas rig sank. The workers saw ex-president G. W. Bush whit his daughter Jenna drunken as hell partying near the rig. When Jenna fell in the yacht floor they leave the area, suddenly the gas rig sunk, in the same moment when Sarah Palin ask.. What is a gas rig? I have one inside of me? inside of me means near my belly?

    an engineer declared: they saw Bush trying to read a book upside down after the incident.

    When the Venezuelan government reach the area they saw a lot of bubbles and more than 200 coorslight cans and a fraternity sign. Then investigation continues...

    May 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Larry Scott

    Yet ANOTHER example of Planet X's presence messing up the neighborhood, probably.

    The oil rig explosion off the Gulf was PARLTY caused by Planet X.

    And do not imagine for one minute that the U.S. govt does not know all about Planet X because they do.

    Don't believe me? Watch for a second sun to the right or above the sun at sunrise and sunset. When the sun is behind dark clouds you can sometimes see Planet X with your own eyes. There are MANYpictures of this second sun on the interent that are explained away. There are also MANY pictures of Planet X taken by SOHO, NASA, LASCO and JPL satellites, but you will NOT be told this either.

    Inreased quakes, volcanic activity, extreme weather, crop shortages, collapsing bridges and buildings, bursting water main and gas lines (even 10 feet across), fireballs, sinkholes, crane collapses, methane explosions in mines, it is almost ALL due to the presence of Planet X, and it is getting closer.

    You can also see Venus is way too big and bright, which cannot be caused by "global warming." LOOK!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeremy

    There is one thing a lot of you forget about the oil rig in LA, it exploded! It did not just sink it blew the hell up! I have still yet to hear what caused the rig to explode, seems kinda strange right after Obama announced that we would be opening up more areas for drilling that something like this happened. I am also shocked I have not heard anyone saying anything about this being caused by an outside person, like a terrorist!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. George Kenney

    Aban Offshore Ltd., India's largest private-sector offshore drilling contractor, lost the Aban Pearl drill rig off the coast of Venezuela ...

    May 13, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. AGB

    According to post 18, above, operations at the Venezuelan gas rig was inaugurated a week ago:

    "Last week, Ramirez stood atop the platform on live television as its gas flare was lit to inaugurate the project. Chavez praised the project at the time as an important step in Venezuela’s efforts to tap its huge natural-gas deposits, saying, “We’re making history.”

    So this rig floated for a whole week before sinking off the coast of Venezuela.

    And we are arguing whether they do a better job than the USA?

    Doesn't anybody get the irony here?

    May 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. "RO"

    this platform has 8000 barrels of fuel on-board that's going to leak at any moment, it was also build in 1977 and the likely cause of it sinking was due to its age

    May 13, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob is dumb


    It's not "You are probably smarter than her."

    It's "You are probably smarter than she."

    I'm only correcting you because you took it upon yourself to correct someone else. Nice job, dummy. I wonder if you are smarter than she.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Robert

    FIrst. Jessica that is a picture of the BP THUNDERHORSE after Hurricane Dennis.
    Second. THe Deepwater Horizon problem is due to BP's decisions to displace to sea water after a BAD negative test on the production liner. Get your facts straight before you start blaming Halliburton!!!!

    May 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. George Kenney

    Aban PearlRigSemi submersible Drilling UnitDesignAker H-3, Twin Hull, Column Stabilised Unit – DNV ClassDrilling Depth25,000' Variable Load2100 TonsHeliport73 x 73 Octagonal 5 feet of perimeter nettingCranesTwo Aker Cranes Type Electric – Hydraulic Load capacity: 40 Tons @ 40 Ft Total Boom: 120 ft. Former Names Treasure Seeker, Bulford DolphinQuarters98 Persons StorageDrill Water : 7,750 barrels. Fresh Water : 3,295 barrels. Fuel Oil : 8,590 barrels. Mud Processing tank : 100 bbl Reserve Liquid mud : 625 bbl Bulk bentonite/barite : 4800/9600 ft3 Bulk cement : 6500 ft3 Sacks storage : 6720 sacks Pipe racks area : 2520 ft2Construction Year , Yard 1977, Keppel Shipyard , SingaporeFlagSingaporeWater Depth1250 ftHullLength 355 ft x Breadth 221 ft (Including Anchor racks)DerrickMaritime Hydraulics Height 56 Mtrs, Load capacity: 455 Tons (1,000,000 lb. Static) Racking capacity: 19,000 ft. D/Pipe and 1000 ft. 8 inch Drill collars.MooringAnchors – 8 x Vryhof. Type – STEVPRIS, Spare Piggy Back – 2 x Baldt, Type – LWT Anchor Winches – 4 x Pusnes model Doubles, 800 Hp (electric driven)

    May 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sean Pennless

    Lot of liberal tripe on this page. Learn a little more about this dictator before you commend him. His gas/oil producton (and technology) was stolen from companies from all over the world.

    May 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. "RO"


    before you keep putting your foot in your mouth

    May 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
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