While operating approximately 6 miles off the Nigerian coast, an oil rig owned by Chevron Nigeria Ltd and operated by drilling contractor FODE Drilling Co. suddenly exploded. This occurred early in the morning on Monday, January 16, 2012. Though search and rescue operations were initiated as quickly as possible, two workers remain unaccounted for.
The K.S. Endeavor, a natural gas jack-up rig, was operating in the Funiwa field off the coast of Nigeria, when a fire erupted. The cause of the fire is still unknown, though it is being investigated at this time and efforts are being made to control the fire, which is thus far restricted to the rig. According to one source, a spokesperson for Nigeria's state run oil company, it is believed that the explosion and resulting fire were caused by a buildup of gas pressure during drilling. Chevron, however, is still investigating and has not yet released a formal statement as to what caused the explosion.
Because the incident occurred at an exploration well and the rig was not actually producing oil at the time of the explosion, a spokesperson for Chevron has stated that there is no indication of an oil spill at this time. According to Chevron, there were 154 workers on the rig and an accompanying barge at the time of the accident. Two are still missing, though efforts are being made to locate these workers. For safety reasons, Chevron also shut down production at its North Apoi platform.
Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and is the fifth-largest exporter of crude oil to the U.S. Chevron is the third-largest producer in Nigeria, with an average of more than 500,000 barrels of crude oil produced a day during 2010.
An explosion on an oil rig may spell disaster for any and all workers on board. If you or someone you know has been injured while working offshore, it is important to discuss your legal rights with an attorney who can aid you in seeking fair compensation under the Jones Act or other relevant maritime law. At Arnold & Itkin, we have considerable experience in these particular claims and have recovered nearly $500 million for our clients. We recovered more than $250 million in verdicts and settlements in 2011 alone.
Contact an oil rig explosion lawyer at our firm to discuss your case and legal rights.