The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has scaled back a search for a worker who went missing last night from the jack-up Noble Lloyd Noble, which is drilling production wells at an oil field 80 nm to the east of the Shetland Islands.
The man was reported missing at 2120 hours Tuesday night, and the rig’s crew initiated a search on board and in the waters nearby. As of Wednesday, three vessels continue the search, including support ships working for Statoil. A Coastguard SAR helicopter has returned to its base.
In a statement, Noble Drilling said that it has halted operations on the Lloyd Noble and will remain focused on searching for the missing worker.
Detective Inspector Norman Stevenson of Police Scotland is leading an investigation at the platform. "An extensive search has been carried out which has involved a search and rescue helicopter as well as standby vessels and a platform supply vessel," Stevenson told media in a statement. "The next of kin of the man have been informed of the ongoing inquiries and further information will be made available to the public when we have it. There are no apparent suspicious circumstances."
The Noble Lloyd Noble is a newly built high-spec jack-up from Jurong Shipyard, and it is capable of water depths to 500 feet and drilling depths to 32,000 feet. It may be the industry's largest jack-up rig
Statoil's Mariner Field is a heavy-oil formation located about mid-way between the Shetland Islands and the Norwegian coast. It was discovered in the early 1980s, but Statoil did not reach a final investment decision until late 2012. The Noble Lloyd Noble began drilling at Mariner in December and a production platform will be installed sometime this summer. First oil is expected next year.