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BSEE Publishes Investigation Report of Deepwater Asgard Incident; Issues New Guidance to Operators for Added Safety

(HOUMA, La.) – The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement today released the results of its investigation of the Oct. 28, 2020 incident when the Transocean Drillship Deepwater Asgard sustained major damage to various operational components while evacuating from an area impacted by Hurricane Zeta.

BSEE investigators concluded through onsite interviews, photo, video, and operational documentation that the probable cause of the accident was an inaccurate weather forecast, with a key contributing cause being the human error decision to stay latched to the well to attempt to ride out the hurricane.

Early forecasts predicted that Hurricane Zeta would pass east of the Asgard. When it became apparent that the Asgard was in the direct path of the hurricane, the well was secured, the riser was displaced with seawater, and the emergency disconnect system was executed successfully. As the harsh weather forced the Asgard off location, the riser and lower marine riser package sustained significant damage. BSEE investigators found that the lower marine riser package was disconnected from the blowout preventers with no issues and there was no spill associated with this event, nor was there a potential for a spill to occur. No injuries were reported.

After a thorough investigation and analysis of the incident, BSEE made several recommendations to reduce the likelihood of similar events in the future and published a BSEE Safety Alert March 8, 2021, which was provided to offshore operators.