BSSE responding to Chevron deepwater gulf fatality

Story updated on Oct. 21 with corrected block name and interest holders.

The US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is responding to a reported fatality aboard the Pacific Santa Ana drillship about 200 miles south of Lake Charles, La., in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

The drillship was starting to drill for Chevron Corp. at the company’s prospect on Keathley Canyon Block No. 96. The nature of the fatality has not been disclosed, but Chevron says no other injuries have been reported, there was no pollution associated with the incident, and operations have been shut down.

BSEE and the US Coast Guard, who will jointly investigate the incident, reached the drillship Oct. 20 and have begun collecting evidence and taking statements.

Chevron operates the block with 36% working interest, with co-owners BP PLC 34% and ConocoPhillips 30%.

The Pacific Santa Ana, owned by Pacific Drilling SA, was built in 2011 and delivered to Chevron in 2012.

According to Pacific Drilling, the ship is an upgraded Samsung 12000 capable of operating in as much as 12,000 ft of water and drilling to depths of 40,000 ft. It has a 200-person crew.

Pacific Santa Ana was built to Chevron specifications with the capability of performing dual-gradient drilling, which facilitates deepwater operations by using different fluid weights to accommodate for water and formation pressure variances (OGJ Online, May 8, 2014).

Contact Michael T. Slocum at

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