Offshore Drilling Disasters

Offshore major oil spill from blowout
Offshore blowout with fire

by Randy Shannon

In a cynical political maneuver to outflank the Republican oil driller lobby, President Obama has approved offshore drilling for most of the south Atlantic coast. The oil industry claims that drilling is environmentally safe and will help wean the U.S. from foreign oil. Both claims are false. The recoverable reserves from the Atlantic coast would provide only a few days of US oil consumption.

The safety of offshore drilling is a matter of chance regardless of the cautions observed by the workers. The website below documents drilling disasters that have spilled millions of gallons of oil offshore. The offshore Atlantic current flows north, so any accident endangers the entire north Atlantic coast.

The following page displays the list of rig incidents and details.

Rig Incident List

DS Drillship
JU Jack-up
LR Land rig
P Platform
SS Semi-submersible
S Ship











Rig Name / Well name Date Location Fatalities Type Incident Comments
60 Yrs of Azerbaijan 1983-09-09 Caspian Sea 5 JU Sinking Seabed failure, volcanic action
Actinia 1993-02-00 Vietnam SS Blowout Major release
Adriatic IV 2004-08-10 Med Sea, Egypt 0 JU Blowout Fire destroyed rig and platform
Adriatic VII 2005-09-28 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Major damage
Al Baz 1989-04-28 Nigeria 5 JU Blowout Burned & sank
Alexander L. Kielland 1980-03-27 Norwegian CS 123 SS Collapse Fatigue fracture caused capsize
Ali Baba 1984-00-00 UK CS SS Grounding Broke moorings
Al Mariyah 2000-04-15 Persian Gulf 4 JU Collapse Jack failure while skidding derrick
AMDP-1 1975-09-00 Persian Gulf JU Sinking Sank in tow. ArabAmOilCo
Arabdrill 19 2002-09-30 Saudi Arabia 0 JU Blowout Fire destroyed rig and platform
Atlantic No. 3 1948-03-08 Alberta, Canada 0 LR Blowout Major release, fire
Baku 2 1976-00-00 Caspian Sea JU Sinking Capsized, sank, PT?, new rig
Banjar Panji-1 2006-05-29 Java, Indonesia LR Blowout Mud volcano, major release
Banzala 1982-00-00 Cabinda, Angola 0 JU Sinking Lost, shallow gas blowout
Bigfoot 2 1987-10-20 GOM JU 2 bow legs PT
Blake IV 1992-09-29 Greenhill bay, GOM 0 JU Blowout Major release, fire
Bob Buschman 1986-00-00 JU Sinking Field Co
Bohai 2 1979-11-25 Bay of Bohai, China 72 JU Sinking Storm. Sank in tow.
Bohai 3 1980-06-15 70 JU Blowout Fire
Bohai 6 1981-00-00 West Pacific JU Slipped on location
Bombay High North 2005-07-27 Indian Ocean 22 P Fire Boat impact
Bourbon Dolphin 2007-04-12 Atlantic Ocean 8 S Sinking Capsize, sunk
Byford Dolphin 1983-11-05 Norwegian CS 5 SS Explosion Diving accident
Cerveza 1983-00-00 P Blowout Abandon
Chevron Typhoon 2005-09-27 GOM 0 P Hurricane Major damage
Constellation 1969-11-25 UK CS 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather on tow
Cormorant A 1989-04-18 UK CS 0(3?) P Explosion Gas leak
C. P. Baker 1964-06-30 GOM 22 DS Blowout Catamaran type, explosion and fire
Dan Prince 1980-10-22 Alaska, North Pacific 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather on tow
DB29 1991-08-15 South China Sea 22 Barge Sinking Typhoon
Deep Sea Driller 1976-03-01 Norwegian CS 6 SS Grounding Storm
Deepwater II 1957-00-00 GOM JU Sinking Sank after hurricane
Dixilyn Field 81 1980-08-09 GOM JU Sinking Hurricane Allen, on loc
Dixilyn Field 82 1985-06-00 Indian Ocean 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather on tow
Dixilyn Field 83 1986-11-20 Indian Ocean JU Sinking Stbd leg PT, capsized, off Bombay
Dixilyn Julie Ann 1968-03-13 GOM 0 JU Sinking  Sank in bad weather on tow
Dixilyn 150 1980-00-00 JU Sinking
Dolphin Titan 143 1977-09-00 JU Sinking Sank in tow, salvaged, retired
Drake Point L-67 1969-00-00 Canadian Arctic LR Blowout Ice volcano
Dresser 2 1968-04-28 GOM JU Sinking Overturned due to soil failure
D M Saunders 1993-11-00 Arabian Gulf 0 JU Sinking Flooded in bad weather on tow
Ekofisk A 1975-00-00 Norwegian CS 3?/6 P Fire
Ekofisk B 1977-04-22 Norwegian CS 0 P Blowout Major release
Ekofisk P 1989-00-00 Norwegian CS 0 P Fire
Elefante 1969-00-00 0 JU Fire Destroyed, Puente Maracaibo Co.
Enchova Central 1984-08-16 Enchova Field, Brazil 37 P Blowout Fire, lifeboat fell to sea
Enchova Central 1988-04-24 Enchova Field, Brazil 0 P Blowout Destroyed by fire
Ensco 51 2001-03-01 Eugene Isl Blk 273, GOM 0 JU Blowout Setting casing string, fire
Ensco 64 2004-09-15 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Major damage
Estrellita 1969-03-00 GOM 0 JU Sinking Grounded in extreme weather
Five Sisters 1989-04-00 GOM 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather on tow
Fulmar A 1991-08-00 UK CS 0 P Explosion Shell
Funiwa Platform 1980-01-17 Nigeria 0 P Blowout Major release
Gatto Selvatico 1976-01-00 JU Sinking AGIP
Gemini 1974-10-09 18 JU Punch thru, leg failure
Getty Platform A 1984-05-13 West Cameron, GOM 1 P Explosion
Glomar Arctic II 1985-01-00 UK CS 2 SS Explosion Pump room
Glomar Arctic IV 1998-07-00 2 SS Explosion
Glomar Baltic I 2001-05-09 GOM JU Blowout
Glomar Grand Isle 1983-02-07 ?Indonesia DS Blowout Fire
Glomar Java Sea 1983-10-25 S. China Sea 81 DS Sinking Capsized in tropical storm Lex
Glomar Labrador I 1988-00-00 0 JU Collision Merchant ship
Gulfwind 2005-00-00 JU Sinking? Wrecked, Chiles Offshore
Harvey Ward 1980-00-00 GOM JU Sinking Mudslide, total loss
Hasbah Platform 1980-10-02 Persian Gulf 19 P Blowout Major release
Hercules 25 2005-08-29 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Katrina – derrick fell on rig
High Island III 2005-09-28 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Major damage
Interocean II 1989-11-08 UK CS 0 JU Sinking Flooded in bad weather on tow
IXTOC-1 1979-06-03 Mexico 0 JU Blowout IXTOC 1 – Capped 1980 Mar 23
Jalapa 1996-04-00 GOM 0 JU Sinking Weather, struc fail, flooding
Jim Cunningham 2004-08-20 Egypt 0 SS Blowout Fire
Key Biscayne 1983-09-01 Australia 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather. Salvg 12-83
Keyes Marine 302 1988-02-22 GOM JU PT, legs bent, total loss.
Keyes Marine 303 1990-05-30 GOM JU Blowout
King Christian D18 1970-10-25 Canadian Arctic LR Blowout Ice volcano
Lake Peigneur 1980-11-21 Louisiana 0 Sinking Drilled into salt mine
Liberacion 1974-11-00 South America 0 JU Sinking Weather, proced, flooding, sunk
Little Bob 1968-08-00 7 JU Blowout Fire off La. Coral Drilling
Lodgepole 1982-10-17 Alberta, Canada 2 LR Blowout Amoco, major H2S release
Lusi Mud Volcano 2006-05-29 Java, Indonesia LR Blowout Mud volcano, major release
Maersk Endurer 1980-10-18 Gulf of Suez ?3 JU Blowout Derrick collapse, renamed EDC Setty
Maersk Giant 2006-04-23 Norwegian CS 0 JU Blowout Shallow gas
Maersk Victory 1996-11-16 South Australia 0 JU Collapse Punch-through, leg failure
Main Pass Block 41 1970-02-10 GOM P Fire Burned for 2 months
Marine IV 2001-07-13 GOM JU Blowout
Marlin 3 1992-08-27 GOM JU Hurricane Major damage, collapse
Marlin 4 1980-00-00 South America JU Collapse Legs damaged, seabed slide
Medusa Spar 2004-09-15 GOM P Hurricane Damaged
Mighty Servant 2 1999-11-02 Indonesia 5 S Sinking Hit rock
Mighty Servant 3 2006-12-06 Angola 0 S Sinking Ballast problems
Mississippi Cany. 311A 1987-11-04 GOM P Blowout Platform tilted
Mobil rig ?? 1995-01-00 Nigeria?? 13? Explosion
Morgan Oil Field?? 1996-01-00 Morgan Field, Gulf of Suez 3 Explosion
Mr Bice 1998-06-00 GOM 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather on tow
Mr Gus 1 1957-03-31 GOM 1 JU Sinking PT, tilt, capsized H. Audrey
Mr Louie 1963-05-00 German CS 0 JU Blowout Crater
Mumbai High North 2005-07-27 Indian Ocean 22 P Fire Boat impact
Nabors Dolphin 105 2002-10-02 GOM JU Sinking Lili – collapse and capsize
Nabors Rig269 1998-07-17 GOM P Collapse
Nabors WorkhorseIX 1980-02-05 GOM JU Sinking Sank in tow, salvaged, in service
Neptune Gascogne 1983-00-00 JU Sinking Lost legs Brazil. Later Rigmar151
NFX Platform A 1999-09-09 GOM P Blowout Fire
Noble Max Smith 2005-09-09 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Major damage in Rita
Nowruz Platforms 1983-03-00 Persian Gulf 20 P Fire Major release
Ocean Champion 1980-12-00 Port Said 0 JU Grounding Grounded in bad weather
Ocean Developer 1995-08-00 Northern Angola SS Sinking Sank on tow
Ocean Express 1976-04-15 GOM 13 JU Sinking Capsized on tow in bad weather
Ocean King 2002-08-09 Grand Isle 93, GOM JU Blowout Fire
Ocean Master II 1977-06-00 West Africa 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather on tow
Ocean Odyssey 1988-09-22 UK CS 1 SS Blowout Fire
Ocean Prince 1968-03-06 UK CS 0 SS Collapse Broke up in storm
Ocean Ranger 1982-02-15 Hibernia, N. Atlantic 84 SS Sinking Storm, Mobil
Ocean Warwick 2005-08-31 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Major damage
Offshore Bahram 1996-01-00 Suez 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather on tow
Okha 1980-10-00 Arctic 0 JU Grounding Grounded in bad weather
Orion 1978-02-01 Guernsey, UK 0 JU Grounding Broke loose from barge
Oseberg B 1988-00-00 Norwegian CS 0 P Collision Sub collision – anchor chain
Parker 14-J 2003-09-11 GOM 0 JU Collapse Jacking mechanism failure
Pagura 1965-00-00 JU Fire Saipem
Penrod ??? 1989-11-00 GOM 0 Explosion?
Penrod 52 / Petrel 1965-09-09 GOM JU Sinking PT, capsized moving, H. Betsy
Penrod 52 1983-07-20 GOM 0 JU Blowout Collapsed during blowout
Penrod 61 1985-10-28 GOM 1? JU Sinking Sank in H. Juan
Petrobras P7 2001-06-19 Bicudo Field, Brazil 0 P Blowout Fire
Petrobras P36 2001-03-20 Campos Basin, Brazil 11 P Sinking Explosion
Petrobras P37 ?? 2001-01-00 Campos Field, Brazil 2 P Fire Natural gas platform
Petromar V 1981-08-27 South China Sea DS Blowout Sank after blowout
Petronius A 1998-12-03 GOM 0 P Sinking Lift failure, dropped module
Piper Alpha 1988-07-06 UK CS 167 P Fire Explosion and loss after gas leak
Placid 66 1977-00-00 JU Sinking Placid Co.
Placid L10a 1983-05-15 SNS, NL 0 P Blowout Corrosion
Pool 55 1987-00-00 GOM JU Sinking Soil failure while drilling
Pride 1001E 1997-04-01 GOM P Blowout Fire
PSS Chemul 2005-08-29 GOM 0 SS Hurricane Major damage
Qatar I 1956-12-00 Arabian Gulf 20 JU Sinking Collapsed during tow.
Ranger 1 1979-05-10 GOM 8 JU Collapse Fatigue, collapse
(Pool) Ranger 4 1997-00-00 GOM JU Sinking Breakthru/slide into crater
Rigmar 151 1998-01-00 West Atlantic 0 JU Sinking Formerly Neptune Gascogne
Roger Buttin 3 1966-02-09 West Africa JU Sinking Fast leg penet, capsize, sank
Ron Tappmeyer 1980-10-02 Saudi Arabia 19 JU Blowout Hasbah Platform blowout
Rowan Fort Worth 2005-09-28 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Rita – Beached, written off
Rowan Gorilla I 1988-12-15 North Atlantic 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather during tow
Rowan Halifax 2005-09-28 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Rita – Beached, written off
Rowan Houston 2002-10-02 GOM 0 JU Sinking Lili – Collapse and capsize
Rowan Louisiana 2005-09-28 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Rita – Beached, severe damage
Rowan New Orleans 2005-08-31 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Katrina – Capsized, sank
Rowan Odessa 1994-12-01 GOM 1 JU Fire Leg struck pipe. Damaged, repaired
Rowan Odessa 2005-09-28 GOM 0 JU Hurricane Rita – missing, sunk?
Santa Fe 135 1988-00-00 0 SS Collision B – broke loose, COD P.
Saipem Paguro 1965-09-09 Off Ravena, Italy JU Blowout Destroyed by fire
Scan Sea 1977-01-12 West Pacific 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather during tow
Seacrest 1989-11-03 Gulf of Thailand 91 DS Sinking Typhoon Gay
Sea Gem 1965-12-27 UK CS 13 JU Collapse BP, jack collapse, brittle fracture
Sea Quest 1980-01-01 Nigeria 0 SS Blowout Sedco 135C, fire, scuttled off Nigeria
SedcoNo8-Rig22 1956-08-10 GOM 4 JU Sinking Under construction
Sedco 135F 1979-06-03 Mexico 0 JU Blowout IXTOC 1 – Capped 1980 Mar 23
Sedco 252 1989-00-00 Indian Coast 3 lost JU Blowout Fire
Sedco J 1989-04-00 Offshore S. Africa SS Sinking Capsized during tow
Shell Mars 2005-08-29 GOM 0 P Hurricane Major damage
Ship Shoal 246b 1980-03-09 GOM 0 P Blowout Killed after 1 day
Sleipner A 1991-08-23 Norwegian CS 0 P Sinking
Snorre A 2004-11-28 Norwegian CS 0 P Blowout Seabed gas blowout
South Timbalier 26 1970-12-01 GOM 4 P Blowout Platform lost
Steelhead Platform 1987-12-20 Cook Inlet, Alaska 0 P Blowout Fire. Unocal, Penrod rig also lost?
Sundowner 15 1996-01-24 GOM P Blowout Fire
Teledyne Movible 16 1989-01-08 GOM JU Blowout Total loss
Texas Tower 4 1961-01-15 N. Atlantic, USA 28 P Collapse Early warning tower
Thunderhorse 2005-07-10 GOM 0 SS Hurricane List after Dennis.
Topper I 1980-02-00 GOM 0 JU Sinking Valve fail, flooding. Crestwave Co
Topper III 1975-00-00 JU Sinking Crestwave Co
Transgulf Rig 10 1959-00-00 GOM JU Sinking Punchthru, capsize b4 move
Transocean 3 1974-01-01 UK CS 0 SS Collapse Leg broke, capsize
Transocean 7 2005-00-00 JU Sinking? Wrecked
Treasure Seeker 1984-00-00 Norwegian CS SS Blowout Shallow gas
Trinimar Marine W327 1973-08-08 Venezuela 0 P Blowout Major release
Ubit Platform 1996-00-00 Nigeria 18 P Fire Explosion
Union Oil Platform A 1969-01-28 Dos Cuadras F, OCS, US 0 P Blowout Major release
Usumacinta 2007-10-23 Bay of Campeche, GOM 22 JU Blowout Storm, major release
Viking Explorer 1988-09-00 SE Borneo 4 DS Blowout Explosion and sinking. Total Oil
Vinland 1984-02-22 Sable Island, N. Atlantic 0 SS Blowout Shell, Uniacke G-72
W.D.Kent 1976-02-00 Off Dubai JU Sinking Sank, hit by barge in storm
West Gamma 1990-08-20 North Sea 0 JU Sinking Sank in bad weather during tow
West Vanguard 1985-10-06 Haltenbanken, Norw. NS 1 SS Blowout
Zacateca 1986-10-00 Mexico JU Blowout Sank. Perforadora Co
Yum II / Zapoteca 1987-10-10 Bay of Campeche, GOM 0 JU Blowout PEMEX
Zapata Enterprize 1985-00-00 Javan coast 0 JU Blowout Fire
Zapata Lexington 1984-09-14 GOM 4 JU Blowout Fire
Zapata Maverick I 1965-00-00 GOM JU Sinking Punch thru, overturn H. Betsy
Zapata Scorpion 1969-11-22 Canary Islands JU Sinking Sank in tow
Zapata Topper III 1975-03-00 GOM JU Blowout Sank off La.

3 thoughts on “Offshore Drilling Disasters”

  1. I hadn’t known the accident record looked so bad. Perhaps Obama has lost track here. He needs reminding and perhaps more than that. Finding that there is not much to drill might be used to force fundamental realization before all is lost.

    The U.S. Senators from N.J. both fairly ordinary Democrats want the drilling to be barred. A Florida democrat too though not in Virginia.

    Anyhow that’s what the N. Y. Times said.
    One New Jersey critic Lautenberg is pretty rich. Could Obama be calling ‘the other side’s’ bluff? Maybe we should call his bluff.

  2. People amaze me. I was on the Steelhead blowout in 1988. It was a typical industrial accident. No more and no less. All the people who think we don’t need oil should do a little research. 27% is used for all fuels…73% is used for everything from laptops, TV’s, carpet, asphalt, tires, all plastics ( with the exception of cellulosic plastics ) 99% of all clothing, shoes, paints,
    laminates, and appliances. 87% of all industrial jobs depend on oil or it bi products. We do not produce electricity with oil. Oil rigs forced to drill in 5,000 ft. of water is just courting disaster! The same oil can be drilled in 300 ft of water where an accident can be managed, at 1 mile of depth you have to deal with pressures of over 2300 psi….by the way, oil is primarily produced from molten rock, carbon, pressure and heat and steam, not dead dinosaurs or trees. At present, we have NOTHING even close to replacing oil. Most chemicals rely on oil and check your prescriptions….if you can decipher them… got it, there are oil bi products in many drugs. So get over it and get your facts right before you let your pious indignations overload your backsides.

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