Chevron Workers Plead To Be Evacuated Before Deadly Blast

Chevron Workers Plead To Be Evacuated Before Deadly Blast by Oleg Vukmanovic, July 11, 2012, Reuters
Chevron Corp. left workers pleading to be evacuated from a gas exploration platform off Nigeria which kept drilling as smoke poured from a borehole until an explosion that killed two people as the rig became engulfed in flames, according to accounts from four of the platform’s workers. … Testimony from some of the 154 workers who were present alleges that, instead of addressing fears that equipment failures and smoke presaged disaster, Chevron flew extra staff to the platform just before the Jan. 16, 2012, blowout. … The fire that followed the blast burned on the rig for 46 days until March 2. Chevron drilled a relief well to stem the gas leak, sealing it on June 18. … FODE declined comment, citing confidentiality clauses in its contract with KS Drilling preventing it making public any information about work for Chevron. The accounts convey rising panic from some of those on the platform, who fearing a blowout, checked each morning the volume of smoke billowing from the drilling borehole. “Chevron knew for over a week that the well was unstable yet they refused to evacuate us,” said one of the rig workers who gave his account to the RMT union. … The French witness said an earlier failed attempt in late December to drill an exploration well near the same was abandoned after the discovery of a gas leak. (Additional reporting by Joe Brock in Nigeria, Editing by Richard Mably, Anthony Barker and Giles Elgood)

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