Petrobras P-36 Sinks

The P-36 sank in the Atlantic Ocean today. There is still 400,000 gallons of crude and diesel fuel still aboard which could spill into the ocean.

The explosion knocked out a supporting pillar, and the platform tilted and sank slowly into the sea off the coast of Macae, 120 miles northeast of Rio. Over the weekend, a team of navy divers, engineers and foreign consultants injected nitrogen into flooded compartments, partly righting it. But high winds and rough seas held up efforts on Monday. The platform lurched violently early Tuesday morning, and workers gave up trying to save it. "It's at the bottom of the sea," said Carlos Aurelio Miranda, a Petrobras spokesman. Chief Executive Henri Philippe Reichstul said the oil and gas wells were sealed before the rig was evacuated, but the danger was that the oil still aboard could spill. Petrobras had 13 ships stationed around the stricken rig with floating oil barriers to contain an eventual spill.

The rig was the top producer in the oil-rich Campos Basin, which accounts for most of the 1.5 million barrels of oil Brazil produced daily. The platform was pumping about 83,000 barrels of oil and processing 1.3 million cubic meters of gas daily, but the company had plans to raise its production to 180,000 barrels a day.