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Qatar offshore rig faces months of repairs after accident

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A newly built Qatari offshore rig will need several months of repairs and maintenance after an accident off the Gulf nation’s coast, its owner said Tuesday.

The accident involved the jack-up accommodation rig “Rumailah” and happened Sunday in the al-Shaheen oil field, off Qatar’s northeastern coast, according to a statement from Doha, Qatar-based Gulf International Services.

The rig is owned by the company’s Gulf Drilling International division, while Denmark-based Maersk Oil operates the overall al-Shaheen field.

Both GIS and Maersk said all personnel were safely evacuated, and no injuries were reported.

GIS described the accident as a “punch through incident,” but gave no additional details on what went wrong. It said the rig needs “a few months” of work in a Qatari shipyard.

The Rumailah is a type of movable, buoyant rig that is designed to sit on legs jacked down to the sea floor that stabilize the platform while in regular operation.

The Rumailah has three legs and only entered service last year.

Norway’s Aftenbladet newspaper published pictures purporting to show the accommodation unit listing and partially submerged after it collapsed into the water, its legs bent at an angle and small orange boats at its side.

Speaking from the Maersk Group headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark, Maersk Oil spokesman Daniel Canty speculated that the accident may have involved a puncture in the seabed that caused one of the rig’s legs to collapse. But he cautioned it is “not clear what had happened because it was being investigated.”

GIS is partly owned by the state-run Qatar Petroleum, which oversees oil and gas exploration in the small OPEC nation.

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Associated Press writer Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark contributed to this report.

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