The Deadliest Oil Rig Explosion Accidents In History

oil rig explosion

Today, there have been numerous oil rig explosions. Consequently, in recent years, each occurrence has become increasingly lethal. This article contains the most recent oil rig explosion information.

Unfortunately, there is a considerable risk of fire or explosion on oil platforms. Even if they are surrounded by water, oil rig explosions remain a threat and an area that requires constant and adequate industrial safety measures to ensure the protection of life and properties.

What is the deadliest explosion on an offshore oil rig in history?

Piper Alpha is the deadliest offshore oil rig catastrophe ever documented in terms of the number of lives lost.

On July 6, 1988, a pump repair job resulted in the removal of a gas pipe’s safety valve.

However, they temporarily plugged the pipe. In addition, they ordered the removal of the pump until the completion of the project.

However, due to a communication fault, the following shift crew activated the pump. This resulted in a gas leak, which caused a succession of enormous explosions.

The blasts left only 61 crew members alive out of a total of 226.

How frequently do oil rig explosions happen?

Explosions on oil rigs are similar to airline catastrophes in that they are uncommon, but when they do occur, they typically result in a massive loss of life.

Greg McCormack, the head of the Petroleum Extension Service at the University of Texas, stated, “These events have a low likelihood but a high impact.”

Similar to airplane catastrophes, oil rig explosions are nearly always the result of human mistakes, which is why it is imperative to hold oil firms accountable when something disastrous occurs.

Top Oil Rig Explosion Accidents

Have you ever wondered how many oil rigs have exploded in recent years? Below is a list of the most recent oil rig explosions;

The Santa Barbara Oil Spill (January 1969

In January 1969, Union Oil began drilling a fifth oil well on Platform A, five miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.

On January 28 morning, the well exploded, releasing oil and gas.

The explosion fractured the seafloor in five locations every hour, releasing 1,000 gallons of oil. The second blowout occurred in a different well on February 24.

Three million gallons of crude oil will eventually damage the California shoreline, the greatest oil spill in U.S. history until the Exxon Valdez twenty years later.

The harm was so extensive and obvious that it started the modern environmental advocacy movement.

The spill resulted in the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, which mandated the compilation of environmental impact studies for significant construction projects.

The spill also produced a cultural moment. For the first time in history, ordinary Americans were concerned about environmental health.

The next year saw the first Earth Day celebration in the United States.

The Alexander L. Kielland Disaster (March 1980)

In March 1980, one of the deadliest oil rig accidents in history occurred as a result of a 6mm-wide fatigue crack produced by a poor welding technique.

In addition, more than 200 oil rig personnel were on board with Alexander L. Kielland on March 27. However, at a “floating hotel” for off-duty personnel, the amenities included a movie.

The oil platform belonged to Stavanger Drilling Company, but Phillips Petroleum was using it.

While the soldiers were enjoying their free time in the evening, the wind outside increased to 45 miles per hour with 40-foot waves.

The men reported hearing a loud crack around 6:30 p.m., which was later discovered to be the breaking of five anchor cables.

The sixth cable prevented the platform from capsizing by a hair’s breadth. As a result of Kielland’s inadequate command system, the majority of troops did not flee the platform.

In less than twenty minutes, the sixth anchor cable broke. The platform then capsized. However, of the seven 50-person lifeboats and twenty 20-person rafts, only one lifeboat and two rafts were released from the descending cables.

Nevertheless, 123 of the 212 soldiers on board perished.

The disaster resulted in stricter regulations for lifeboat hooks and command structures to expedite the abandonment of sinking ships.

The Ocean Ranger Incident (February 1982)

In February 1982, the Ocean Ranger, a mobile offshore drilling rig, sank near Canada while drilling an exploratory well for Mobil Oil Canada.

On the evening of February 14, 1982, a rogue wave struck the Ocean Ranger and nearby vessels.

The radio transmission from the oil platform described how a broken porthole window allowed water to enter the ballast control room.

The waves were at least 65 feet in height, while the porthole window was just 28 feet. Ocean Ranger claimed they were listing 10-15 degrees after midnight.

Local officials and Mobil helicopters were notified of the situation at approximately 1:00 AM. In addition, they requested assistance from all neighboring vessels for the platform, which was still leaning 10 degrees to the left.

However, the Ocean Ranger broadcast a final transmission indicating that they had abandoned the ship.

All 84 crew members perished, including 46 Mobil employees and 38 independent contractors. Investigators discovered that surrounding vessels were not equipped to rescue victims from the water.

Therefore, this occurs, particularly during extreme weather. Thus, the majority of men perished from drowning or hypothermia.

The Deepwater Horizon Incident (April 2010)

The sinking of the Deepwater Horizon is one of the biggest maritime catastrophes in recent memory.

The rig, owned by Transocean and drilling for BP, burst and caught fire off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010.

Numerous warning signs preceded the oil rig disaster. In 2009, BP engineers feared that the drilling materials they intended to employ may break under pressure.

Many workers were concerned that the equipment was unreliable and required repair, but they feared they would be fired for reporting safety issues.

In March 2010, an accident that damaged the blowout preventer was not disclosed (which had gone uninspected since 2005).

On the night of the disaster, BP engineers observed signals that the well was about to rupture hours before the blowout.

At 9:56 p.m., a methane gas bubble ascended the drill column, growing as it ascended. Survivors reported experiencing two “vibrations” prior to the onset of the fire.

Before the Deepwater Horizon sank, the oil rig fire lasted for over 24 hours. Eleven of the 126 passengers were murdered, while seventeen were evacuated to trauma centers.

Others were transferred to a hotel in Kenner, Louisiana. However, they were required to sign a release stating they had not been wounded.

Workers indicated that they felt compelled to sign the waiver before receiving what they required.

I hope you find our post on the worst oil rig explosions in history educational. Feel free to share with others to learn on social media.

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