Steelhead Platform


Steelhead Platform


20 Dec 1987


Cook Inlet, Alaska




The Marathon-owned Steelhead Platform suffered a natural gas blowout whilst drilling well M-26 in the McArthur River Field. The crew were setting casing when gas from a shallow gas pocket began to flow from the well. Attempts were made to kill the well with drilling mud but the gas unfortunately ignited, leading to a fire which caused extensive damage to the drilling package. The fire burned out of control for a week before the well bridged and extinguished the fire. The forty-nine crew on board managed to evacuate the rig without serious injuries via the lifeboats.

The fire destroyed the helideck and damaged the accommodation module, the drilling module and one of the cranes. Problems with the well continued and, in the following six months, the well blew out twice more before being brought under control, delaying the start of production by a number of months. The platform was later repaired, allowing the resumption of drilling and production.


MARSH: 100 Largest Losses PDF document
Minerals Management Service: OCS Study PDF document
Alaska Department of Natural Resources: 1999 Oil and Gas Lease Sale

1. Peninsula Clarion