Gulf oil spill firm to deploy rig off west coast


TRANSOCEAN, Swiss owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig which exploded last month in the Gulf of Mexico, is due to deploy a rig off the Irish west coast by the end of this month.

Shell EP Ireland confirmed yesterday that the semi-submersible Sedco 711 rig owned by Transocean is returning to the Corrib gas field.

The company said that Sedco was currently working in the North Sea and the rig was not expected in Irish waters until the end of this month at the earliest.

The rig is due to complete work on one well and drill another on the Corrib field, and has been booked until September of this year.

Transocean Ltd is the world’s largest offshore drilling contractor and a leading provider of drilling management services, with a fleet of 139 mobile offshore drilling units, and three more “ultra-deepwater” units under construction.

Transocean Ltd drilled the record Gulf of Mexico oil well for BP at 35,050ft deep in 4,130ft of water last September.

However, the drilling operator and a separate BP contractor, Halliburton, have been blaming each other this week for the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion of April 20th which claimed 11 lives.

BP America Inc chairman Lamar McKay was quoted by Bloomberg financial news service this week as saying that Transocean’s blowout preventer – a device designed to close off a well – failed to operate.

Halliburton provided cement for the oil well.

The $365 million rig exploded about 130 miles (209kms) southeast of New Orleans and sank two days later.