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AEC to visit Gabon after fatal Perenco fire, one worker still missing

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An offshore worker remains missing following a fatal fire on a Perenco-operated oil platform which killed five people in Gabon.

The fire occurred last Wednesday during a workover operation at the Simba field, on the Becuna rig operated by Perenco Oil & Gas Gabon.

Gabon’s Prime Minister and Minister for Petroleum travelled to the city of Port-Gentil on Saturday for a memorial service to honour the victims.

In a statement, Gabon’s Ministry of Petroleum and Gas said three concurrent investigations have been launched by the Port-Gentil public prosecutor’s office, the General Directorate of Hydrocarbons and Perenco.

“The results of these investigations should enable appropriate measures to be taken to avoid similar setbacks in the future,” the Ministry said.

© Image: Gabon Ministry of Petroleum and Gas
A memorial service to honour five offshore workers killed in a fire on a Perenco-operated rig off the coast of Gabon. Port-Gentil, Gabon.

African Energy Chamber to visit Gabon

Meanwhile, officials from the African Energy Chamber (AEC) will visit Gabon to “stand in solidarity with the families who have tragically lost their loved ones”.

“It is imperative that every effort is made to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future,” the AEC said in a statement.

“The Chamber will continue to work with the independent oil and gas company to advance worker safety and the maximization of Africa’s vast hydrocarbon resources to drive the growth of the Gabonese and African economies.”

AEC executive chairman NJ Ayuk said the chamber “mourns the loss of this tragic accident”.

“Perenco and the oil industry in Gabon have relatively low injury rates,” Mr Ayuk said.

“We will continue to work with Perenco and Gabon to improve the working standards to ensure this does not happen again.”

In a statement issued last Thursday, Perenco said: “We deeply regret to confirm that there have been five fatalities and one person is still missing.

“Our thoughts are with the bereaved families and we are focused on supporting them at this time.

“Emergency teams continue to be deployed on site and to search for the missing person.”

The AEC said the Simba field accounts for 4% of the west African country’s oil production alone, and is “crucial for the stability of Gabon and Africa’s oil market and economic expansion”.

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