Brazilian offshore oil rig ''stable'' for now

Published March 20th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

A crippled offshore oil rig which had been threatening to spill more than a million liters of oil into the sea after a series of explosions was "stable" late Monday, the state-owned oil company Petrobras said. 

 

Early Monday, a cold front passing over the area had whipped up 1.7-meter (5.5 foot) waves, hampering the rescue efforts and causing the giant rig to sink 40 centimeters (1.3 feet) in 12 hours. 

 

Dutch environmental experts, US consultants and workers from the state-owned Brazilian oil company managed to stop the rig collapsing and potentially emptying 1.5 million liters (330,000 gallons) of oil into the ocean. 

 

By pumping nitrogen into the rig's flooded floaters and expelling 4,100 tones of water, the experts managed to reduce the massive P-36 platform's list from 30 degrees to 24 degrees. 

 

However the weather conditions continued to hamper the work of teams working round the clock, Petrobras said in the statement.  

 

The rig, considered the world's largest of its type, has been in danger of sinking since a series of explosions in one of the piles which support it on the seabed Thursday caused two confirmed deaths, with eight other people missing. 

 

Petrobras has gathered 26 vessels and a semi-submersible platform around the stricken oil rig to tackle any oil slick that might result should the stabilization effort fail.—AFP. 

©--Agence France Presse 2001. 

 

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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