Storm Babet Unleashes Chaos on North Sea Rig

by Victor Adetimilehin

A severe storm has caused a partial evacuation of a North Sea drilling platform after four of its eight anchors came loose on Saturday. The Stena Spey rig, which was drilling the K2 prospect for Ithaca Energy, was hit by strong winds and waves from Storm Babet, a powerful low-pressure system that swept across the UK and Europe over the weekend.

According to Stena Drilling, 45 non-essential staff were airlifted to nearby platforms and Sumburgh in the Shetland Isles, while 44 workers remained on board to stabilize the rig and secure the well. The company said all personnel were safe and well, and that relatives of those involved had been informed. It also said it had initiated emergency response procedures and notified the relevant authorities, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The incident has raised concerns over the safety of offshore workers and the environmental impact of drilling in the North Sea, which is home to hundreds of oil and gas platforms. In 2016, a similar incident occurred when the Transocean Winner rig ran aground on the Isle of Lewis after breaking free from its tow line during a storm. The rig was carrying 280 metric tons of diesel, some of which leaked into the sea.

The UK government has been criticized by environmental groups for its plans to expand oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, despite its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero by 2050. The government argues that domestic production is essential for energy security and economic recovery, and that it will support a transition to cleaner sources of energy in the future.

However, some experts have warned that continuing to drill for fossil fuels will undermine the UK’s climate goals and increase the risk of accidents and spills. Stena Drilling said it was working to reattach the anchors to the Stena Spey rig with the help of several anchor handling vessels. It said the rig was safe and the well remained secure.

It also said it would conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the incident and take appropriate measures to prevent it from happening again. The company expressed its gratitude to all those who assisted in the emergency response and praised the professionalism of its crew.

Source: [Energy Voice]

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