Enchova Central


Petrobras Enchova Central Platform


16 Aug 1984 & 24 April 1988


Enchova Field, Brazil




Located in the Campos Basin near Rio de Janeiro and run by Petrobras, the Enchova Central platform was the location of two major incidents. In the first, on 16 August 1984, a blowout occurred followed by explosion and fire. The majority of the workers were evacuated safely by lifeboat or helicopter, but 42 personnel died during the evacuation of the platform. The most serious incident occurred when the lowering mechanism of a lifeboat malfunctioned, causing the bow hook to fail. The lifeboat was then left suspended vertically until the stern support broke and the lifeboat fell 10-20m to the sea, killing 36 occupants. Six other workers were killed when they jumped 30 or 40m from the platform to the sea.

The second incident to strike the platform occurred four years later on 24 April 1988 and resulted in the destruction of the platform. While performing a workover to convert a well from oil to gas, the well suffered a gas blowout. The BOP did not shut the well in and attempts to kill the well failed. As the blowout continued, drillpipe was forced out of the well and struck one of the platform legs, causing sparks which ignited gas from the blowout. The fire on the platform then burned for 31 days, resulting in extensive damage to the topside structure. Fortunately, a floating hotel was alongside the Enchova Central at the time and the platform was evacuated with no loss of life.

The platform was later declared a total loss. A new facility was built to replace the Enchova and, 18 months after the incident, full production was restored.


Marsh Risk Consulting: 100 Largest Losses PDF document
DTI: Leak Frequencies from CO2 Sequestration PDF document
UFRJ: Contingency Planning for Oil Spill Accidents in Brazil PDF document
Jan Erik Vinnem: Offshore Risk Assessment (1999)

1. Petro & Química