Fatal Accident Reported on Pacific Santa Ana Drillship in Gulf of Mexico

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October 20, 2015

Pacific Santa Ana file photo. Photo: Pacific Drilling


The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said Tuesday it was responding to a report of a death on the Pacific Santa Ana in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

Pacific Santa Ana was beginning drilling operations for Chevron approximately 200 miles south of Lake Charles, LA, in 4,800 feet of water when the incident occurred. According to the operator, the rig has been shut down, the BSEE said.

There were no other injuries reported and personnel remain on the drill ship, BSEE said. There was also no reported pollution.

The incident is being investigated by both the BSEE and U.S. Coast Guard. BSEE and U. S. Coast Guard inspectors traveled to the drillship Tuesday afternoon and have begun collecting evidence and taking statements.

The Pacific Santa Ana is on a five-year contract with Chevron ending in May 2017.

The fifth generation drillship was built in 2011 by Samsung Heavy Industries and is capable of operating in 12,000 feet water depth. When delivered to the Gulf of Mexico in 2012, the drillship was the first designed with the capacity to perform dual gradient drilling, a technology that uses two weights of drilling fluid to match the natural pressure when drilling ultra-deepwater reservoirs.

The Pacific Santa Ana is owned by Houston-based Pacific Drilling. It can accommodate up to 200 crew.

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