Four dead in Russian oil rig accident (Lead)

December 18th, 2011 - 6:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Dec 18 (IANS/RIA Novosti) At least four people were killed and 49 others were missing when an oil rig overturned in the Russian sea early Sunday, officials said.

The Kolskaya drilling rig with 67 people aboard was being towed in a severe storm, when it overturned and sank some 200 km off Russia’s Sakhalin island.

Fourteen people have been rescued.

The transport ministry told Prime news agency that “of the 67 people aboard the Kolskaya rig, 53 are crewmembers and 14 are workers and support staff”.

The drilling rig belongs to the Arktikmorneftegazrazvedka exploration company, which carried out work under a contract with energy giant Gazprom.

The drilling rig, which can take up to 102 people on board, was built in 1985 in Finland. The rig started its operations in September to drill and test the Pervoocherednaya well on the West-Kamchatka licensed block of the Okhotsk Sea shelf.

The rig, which is 69 meters long and 80 meters wide, was intended to drill a well at a depth of 3,500 meters.

A Gazprom spokesman said that the rig had completed its work for Gazprom and was heading for its base when the accident occurred.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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