Pemex begins dismantling Usumacinta drilling rig

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3 -- Mexico's Petroleos Mexicanos has begun dismantling a damaged oil rig in the Bay of Campeche off Mexico as heat from near-constant fires has destabilized the structure.

Pemex said engineers successfully removed the Usumacinta oil rig's tower, and the company expressed hope that the action would help workers extinguish the fire that has been fueled by continuing oil and gas leaks since an Oct. 23 accident.

High waves hitting the rig caused the accident, sending a boom crashing into an oil platform's valve assembly and killing some 21 workers.

Pemex said the platform has been spilling about 430 b/d of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, a total of almost 13,000 bbl since the accident.

Mexican subcontractor Perforadora Central owns and operates the rig, which Bethlehem Steel built in 1982 in Singapore.

In earlier reports, a senior company executive said Pemex may close its Usumacinta oil rig and the Kab 121 oil well in the Bay of Campeche due to the continuing oil and gas leak (OGJ Online, Nov. 27, 2007).

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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