Ocean Baroness Experiences Failure of Riser Connection

Diamond Offshore reports that the Ocean Baroness experienced a parting of its marine riser during operations offshore Malaysia on April 22, 2002 in 5,700 feet of water. No injuries were sustained in this incident and the well has been secured without incident and successfully plugged. The drilling unit is undamaged. Known damage is limited to subsurface elements of the riser. Damage to the blow out preventer is not evident; however, a detailed inspection will be required following recovery operations.

It appears from video taken by underwater cameras that bolt assemblies failed at a riser connection, causing the riser to separate. Presently the riser is parted approximately 2,300 feet below the surface of the water and is supported both by the rig's riser tensioning system and drillpipe, which extends from the rig floor, past the separation and through the well head.

The Company is currently in consultation with the riser manufacturer, its customer and several contractors in order to develop a recovery and repair plan. At this time, the Company cannot be definitive about the duration of its recovery and remediation efforts. However, the Company believes successful recovery and repair of the subsea equipment can be conducted.

The Ocean Baroness departed the shipyard and began its 120-day contract on March 17, 2002, and had operated successfully prior to the riser failure.


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