Nfld. & Labrador

Drilling suspended, worker hospitalized, following incident on Transocean Barents

The board that regulates Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil industry says an incident on board the Transocean Barents on Friday could have had deadly consequences.

Offshore regulatory board has commenced a formal investigation into Sept. 6 incident

A worker aboard the Transocean Barents was injured Friday and airlifted from the drill rig, which is under contract to Suncor in Newfoundland's offshore. (Submitted/Transocean)

The board that regulates Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore oil industry says an incident on board the Transocean Barents rig on Friday could have had deadly consequences.

The C-NLOPB issued a statement on Monday, saying drilling operations on the semi-submersible have been suspended while a formal investigation is carried out.

According to the board, the incident occurred around 11 a.m. Friday, while employees were preparing the rig for severe weather.

The worker was caught between a steel adapter weighing 1,400 kilograms and a rail during crane operations. 

An emergency response team provided care before a helicopter flew the worker to a hospital in St. John's.

The statement says the employee is in stable condition, and remains in hospital, though details about the extent of his or her injuries were not released.

"The incident had the potential for fatality," the statement read.

The rig is owned by Transocean, a Swiss company, and is under contract to Suncor, which operates the Terra Nova oil field 350 kilometres southeast of St. John's.

Transocean confirmed the incident through an email on Monday, but did not answer follow-up questions.

A spokesperson for Suncor, meanwhile, said the company takes the incident "very seriously" and is also investigating.

The spokesperson said the injured worker is in stable condition, but said any details about the extent of the worker's injuries would have to be answered by Transocean, the employer.

The injury is the latest in a string of mishaps in the offshore, with scrutiny heightened over oil spills at Hibernia and in the White Rose oil field.

Suncor also reported in late June that a worker on the Terra Nova FPSO was exposed to hydrogen sulfide and benzene from a slop tank, though no treatment was required.

The incident was classified as a "near miss with potential for fatality."

Meanwhile, drilling will not resume on the Transocean Barents until the C-NLOPB gives Suncor approval. 

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