The mystery surrounding the missing gas platform in the Adriatic Sea about 50 kilometers off the Croatian coast near Pula seems to have been solved: According to Croatian media reports, INA confirmed that the Ivana D gas platform was found on the seabed. After helicopters initially circled over the site of the accident but were unable to provide any clues about the missing gas platform, an unmanned submarine was finally deployed and provided the decisive images from the seabed.
Underwater images show sunken platform
To say that the gas platform, which carries natural gas stored beneath the seabed to the surface, has resurfaced is not quite accurate. Apparently, experts from INA want to have made out from the available underwater images that the platform is in its ancestral place, but completely on the seabed.
Cracks found on platform
Literally, “INA confirmed on Thursday that its Ivana D gas platform was found on the seabed, that there were cracks at the joints of the platform with the piles installed there, while the pipes leading from the well to the surface part of the platform did not burst, but were bent and were on the bottom.”
Natural gas pipelines tight, according to INA
Translated from the usual “statement-speak” this wants to mean: cracks have formed on the piles, or the connection to the platform. Heavy winds (Jugo) combined with high waves then caused the platform to apparently sink into the Adriatic Sea. The natural gas pipelines leading from the well to the platform apparently did not burst, but only bent. However, no information was provided about a possible gas leak.
Faulty maintenance ruled out?
Further, INA let it be known “…that poor maintenance could be ruled out as the cause of the rig rupture, that the exact reasons would be determined by an ongoing investigation, and that the company would make a decision on whether to continue production or permanently shut in the well only after all relevant data had been collected.”
Underwater video “surfaced”
A video posted on the Croatian news portal Index, as well as some images, show underwater footage of the sunken drilling platform, apparently taken by the operating company INA.
Methane leakage dangerous
SeaHelp has already addressed how dangerous leaking methane can be for the environment in the previous post. Gas wells always have a certain residual risk, as can be seen in a video of the EU-funded broadcaster EuroNews.
Avoiding the accident site as far as possible
Until it is finally clarified whether gas is actually escaping from the damaged platform, but also to what extent INA will succeed in permanently sealing the borehole, all water sports enthusiasts are advised to circumnavigate the site of the accident as far as possible, because there may indeed be a danger to life and limb here, as it is not known exactly which substances are escaping. Pure methane has a weight much lighter than air and would immediately rise into the atmosphere. But often, depending on the nature of the gas field, other gases are also carried to the surface.