Petrobras drops riser in deep-water Gulf

An 8,000-foot section of pipe running from the sea floor to a connector that led to a Petrobras floating production ship in the Gulf of Mexico became detached last month and sank to the sea floor.

The pipe, known as a riser, was connected to a subsea well in the Chinook field located about 165 miles offshore Louisiana in an area of the Gulf known as Walker Ridge.

The well was not in production at the time, according to Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, so it does not appear that oil was spilled.

The device the riser was attached to — a 130-ton submersed tube known as a buoyancy can — drifted to within a few miles of Chevron’s Tahiti production spar before it was intercepted, according to the website gCaptain.com, which was the first to report the incident.

BOEMRE was notified of the incident on March 23.

Petrobras has formed an investigative committee to look into the cause of the incident, according to a statement from the company.

BOEMRE approved a permit for the vessel to begin production from a number of previously drilled wells in mid-March. The floating production, storage and offloading vessel, or FPSO, has a production capacity of 80,000 barrels of oil per day and 16 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

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