Chevron Ignored Rig Workers Evacuation Requests Prior to Deadly KS Endeavor Blast [REPORT]

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July 11, 2012

KS Endeavor on fire offshore Nigeria. Photo: Chevron

Chevron failed to address concerns of unsafe drilling conditions and requests for evacuation from rig workers on board the KS Endeavor in the days leading up to the jack-up’s explosion offshore Nigeria that resulted two deaths, according to report from Reuters.

The KS Endeavor, a jack-rig operated by Chevron Nigeria, exploded on January 16 resulting in the death of 2 of the 154 personel onboard and a fire that burned for 46 days before a relief well was finally drilled.

Citing a transcripts of rig workers obtained from Britain’s Rail, Maritime and Transport trade union, Reuters reports that workers on the KS Endeavor were ignored by Chevron when expressing concerns of increasing smoke billowing from the drilling borehole and requests for evacuation.

“Chevron knew for over a week that the well was unstable yet they refused to evacuate us,” said one of the rig workers who gave his account to the RMT union.

In fact, Reuters reports that instead of addressing fears that equipment failures and smoke presaged disaster, Chevron flew extra staff to the platform just before the January 16, 2012, blowout.

The most senior witness to give testimony to the RMT, a Frenchman, said a series of pump failures throughout the drilling operation led to a massive build-up of pressure that triggered the blowout.

The Frenchman said rig engineers held a site meeting and advised Chevron to evacuate staff while well pressure control measures were applied.

“That advice was not heeded and additional personnel were even brought onboard to get ahead of what was believed to be impending strike action,” the Frenchman, who was at that meeting, said.

Chevron denied claims that they ever received evacuation requests in an emailed statement to Reuters.

READ: Exclusive: Riggers sought evacuation before deadly Chevron blast

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