Transocean sacks manager for Seven Seas accident

Vol 8, PW 5 (02 Jun 04) Exploration & Production

Transocean has found a convenient scapegoat for the accident on its deepwater drillship Discoverer Seven Seas on 14th May: drilling manager Tony Beckett.

PETROWATCH learns Transocean has squarely blamed Beckett for the accident in which the dynamically positioned drillship drifted away from its location KG-OS-DW in the Krishna Godavari basin on Indias eastern offshore. Contacted by this report, both Transocean and Beckett refused to comment.

ONGC sees no reason to blame Beckett: Tony is one of the best and finest drilling professionals we have come across, says an ONGC official. Last week, Transocean told ONGC about Becketts removal.

They said Tony has been sacked but this would not affect the drilling programme. On 14th May, Seven Seas failed to maintain its DP system and the crew resorted to emergency disconnect by cutting the drill pipe, a part of which remained stuck in the well.

ONGC is still upset with the drillships performance. Seven Seas resumed work last week but suffered a technical breakdown the same day, adds ONGC.

Now we realise there is definitely some truth when other drillers tell us that Seven Seas could be technically unsound. If ONGC considers terminating Transoceans contract, it would be well within its rights.

A clause in ONGCs contract with both Transocean and Dolphin Drilling reads: All equipment shall be maintained by the contractor in a sound and efficient operating condition. Should the efficiency become unsatisfactory or the standard of performance of the work be materially reduced because of the contractors incompetence or negligence the operator shall give the contractor a written notice specifying the causes of dissatisfaction to correct the specified deficiencies within 15 days failing which the operators shall have the right to terminate this contract by giving a 30 days notice.

Within ONGC, theres a feeling the corporation has been duped. We may give Transocean an oral warning to shape up Seven Seas.

If this is ignored, ONGC will write a written complaint. Right now we are not thinking of anything drastic because more than Transocean it is our reputation that is at stake.