By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – An explosion in an oil and gas production ship rented by Petrobras killed at least five workers, injured ten and four are still missing, according to the company. Reportedly no oil has leaked from the ship that carried 74 persons at the time of the accident.

An explosion on the FPSO Cidade de São Mateus  left at least five dead off the coast of Espirito Santo state, Sao Paulo, Brazil News
An explosion on the FPSO Cidade de São Mateus left at least five dead off the coast of Espirito Santo state, photo courtesy of BW Offshore.

The explosion occurred aboard the (FPSO) Floating Production Storage and Offloading unit Cidade de São Mateus, in the Camarupim and Camarupim Norte basins 120 km off the coast of the state of Espirito Santo, in the Southeastern region of Brazil. According to ANP (National Petroleum Agency) the injured were taken by helicopter to the airport in Vitoria, capital of the state, where a team of doctors and ambulances waited for them.

Infraero (government agency which operates Brazil’s major airports) set up an operation at the Vitoria airport to receive the wounded. Petrobras stated that 31 persons remain on-board while another 33 left the vessel.

The ship was operated by BW Offshore, a U.S. provider of floating production services to the oil and gas industry. According to its website, the company is the world’s second largest contractor with a fleet of 14 FPSOs and one FSO.

The vessel was carrying 74 persons on board at the time of the explosion, which according to ANP occurred in one of the pump rooms and that the fire was quickly contained. According to the government agency no oil or gas escaped due to the accident.

BW Offshore released a statement Thursday morning (February 12th) where CEO Carl Arnet states: “This is a tragic day, and our primary focus now is on the crew and their families. We cannot rest until the last four of our men are found. We express our gratitude to Petrobras and the Brazilian authorities for the tireless efforts in this time and wish to thank our peers and partners for their support.”

The ship produced 2.25 million cubic meters of gas and 350 cubic meters of oil per day. Two teams of investigators have been sent to look into the causes of the explosion.


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