Fire on the Platform P-48 at the Campos Basin
The FPSO P-48 is a production unit located in the concession area of Petrobras, in the Campos Basin, in the Campo de Caratinga, 62.13 miles from the coast, in a water blade of 3412 ft depth.
On Saturday (February 20, 2021) an incident involving a fire on the platform was reported. According to the note issued by the state-owned company and by SINDIPETRO – North Fluminense (North Fluminense’s Union of Oilmen), a worker was hurt by the flames while performing maintenance on one of the slops of the vessel where cutting and welding occurred. He had minor burns on the neck, shoulders, arms and back.
According to reports, the fire alarm went off at around 4 pm (local time) for 3 minutes until Geplat, the Platform Manager, reported the incident via the vessel’s warning system. The aeromedical assistance arrived 2 hours after the alarm sounded from the vessel. The fire brigade took 1.5 hours to control the fire.
What draws attention to this platform is that unfortunately this is not the first incident that the P-48 has been involved in its 16 years of service in the Campos Bay. The P-48 has in its history a fire in 2016, a collision also in 2016 and a leak of 70 liters of oil in the sea in 2017.
When reading the reports of the ANP (National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel), in relation to the fire in 2016, the current incident has a lot of similarities, because, according to the agency, it “occurred due to a conjunction failures, which were deviated from the practices of the Technical Regulation of the Operational Safety Management System (RTSGO) – ANP Resolution No. 43 of 2007”. Thus, like the current fire, in 2016 the fire was caused during a maintenance with welding, close to the slop vessel pipe of the cargo tanks, when a spark started the fire of great proportions that quickly spread in the AFT-bow direction. This same report bears significant similarities with the fire that occurred on December 26, 2013 on the P-20 platform, which is also operated by Petrobras, pointing out that in both incidents there were failures in monitoring the work performed (with Work Permits were indicated as the most likely cause of the ignition source).
In the report made by Marcelo Mafra Borges de Macedo (Superintendent of Operational Safety and Environment), a recommendation was prepared for the inspection team of the ANP platforms related to Safe Work Practices. The recommendation indicates that the implementation of the recommendation prepared by Petrobras regarding the proposal for inclusion in the E&P Safety Manual of “explicit requirements for the elaboration of hot service containment” is monitored. These aspects, therefore, are configured as points that deserve attention from the oil industry, due to their recurrence as failures that cause accidents in production platforms.
Within this scenario, it is an alert to seafarers that, although there are already strong regulations on hot services on production platforms. I It is expected that there will be continuous improvement of the operational safety of the facilities by the oil industry that operates in Brazil.
Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustível. “Incident Investigation Report P-48.” ANP, September 2018, <http://www.anp.gov.br/images/EXPLORACAO_E_PRODUCAO_DE_OLEO_E_GAS/Seguranca_Operacional/Relat_incidentes/P-48/P-48_Relatorio.pdf> Accessed on March 9th 2021.