Petrobras 36


Petrobras 36 (P-36) was at the time the largest floating semi-submersible oil platform in the world prior to its sinking on 20 March 2001.[3] It was owned by Petrobras, a semi-public Brazilian oil company headquartered in Rio de Janeiro.[4] The cost of the platform was US$350 million (currently US$536 million).[5]

  • Petrobras 36
  • Spirit of Columbus (1995–2000)
BuilderFincantieri, Italy
CostUS$350 million
Laid down1986
Out of service20 March 2001
IdentificationIMO number: 8916566
General characteristics
Class and typeOil Production Platform
Tonnage33,000 GT
  • Oil: 180,000 bbl/d (29,000 m3/d)
  • gas: 7,200,000 m3/d (250,000,000 cu ft/d)

The vessel was built at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy in 1995 as a drilling rig. She was owned then by Società Armamento Navi Appoggio S.p.A. The 33,000 tonnes (36,000 short tons) rig was converted by Davie Industry, Lévis, Canada to the world's largest oil production platform.

P-36 was operating for Petrobras on the Roncador Oil Field, 130 kilometres (80 mi) off the Brazilian coast, producing about 84,000 barrels (13,400 m3) of crude per day.[6]

P-36 was replaced by FPSO-Brasil which is a leased vessel from SBM Offshore. The FPSO-Brasil started its lease contract with Petrobras in December 2002.


In the early hours of March 15, 2001 there were two explosions in the aft starboard column at or around the emergency drain tank. The first explosion was caused by an overpressure event, the second by ignition of leaking hydrocarbon vapor.[7] At the time there were 175 people on the rig; 11 were killed. Following the explosions, the rig developed a 16° list, sufficient to allow down-flooding from the submerged fairlead boxes.[citation needed]

Marine salvage teams tried over the weekend to save the platform by pumping nitrogen and compressed air into the tanks to expel the water, but they abandoned the rig after bad weather.[8]

The platform sank five days after the explosions (March 20), in 1,200 m (3,940 ft) of water with an estimated 1,500 tonnes (1,700 short tons) of crude oil remaining on board.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Petrobras 36 - Sinking - IMO 8916566". shipspotting. 2010. Retrieved 23 November 2010.
  2. ^ Fachetti, Marina B.; Valério, Cid G.P.; Loureiro, José E.; Jorge, Henídio Q. (1–4 May 2000). The Conversion of Spirit of Columbus Semi-submersible into Petrobras 36. Offshore Technology Conference. Houston, Texas. Retrieved 2010-06-16.
  3. ^ "Petrobras P-36". Bluestarline. Retrieved 22 November 2010.
  4. ^ Investor Relations. "Shareholders' Information". Petrobras. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  5. ^ 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  6. ^ "Petrobras P-36". Oil Rig Disasters. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Petrobras Platform P-36 Explosions, Brazil". Oil Rig Disasters. 14 April 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2010.
  8. ^ Gibb, Tom (21 March 2001). "Post mortem into rig disaster begins". BBC.

External linksEdit

  • BBC article
  • NASA Safety Center Report
  • Sinking of the Petrobras P-36 Photographs of the platform's sinking.
  • SustainAbility case study Costs of the sinking.
  • Petrobras Oil Rig Project with images on the P-36
  • Article in Offshore Sinking Sequence of P36

Coordinates: 22°03′42″S 39°33′15″W / 22.06167°S 39.55417°W / -22.06167; -39.55417