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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 16:16 GMT 17:16 UK
Brazil oil rig threatens to sink
The P-34 oil rig, listing to port
Some workers jumped into the ocean as the ship tilted
An oil platform off the coast of Rio de Janeiro is listing sharply and in danger of collapse, according to its owners, Petrobras.

Emergency work is going on to try to stabilise the P-34 rig - a converted oil tanker - which tilted over after an electrical failure late on Sunday.

It is thought the power cut may have affected systems controlling balance.

Map of Brazil showing Rio de Janeiro and location of P-34 oil rig
About 25 of the rig's 76 workers jumped into the sea as the platform suddenly keeled over, according to a union leader. Everyone was later rescued.

The P-34 contains 12,000 cubic metres (three million gallons) of oil.

It is near the site of Petrobras's P-36 rig which toppled over after an explosion and fire last year, killing 11 workers and spilling about 350 cubic metres of fuel.

Engineers have spent nine hours pumping sea water into the rig which has now stabilised at a lean of 29 degrees.

Salvage hopes

It is hoped that the sea water will redistribute the weight on the platform and stop it from sinking.

Petrobras said no oil had spilt from the rig, which is about 80 kilometres (50 miles) off the Brazilian coast.

Listing Petrobras oil rig
Another oil rig - the P-36 - sank last year in a disaster which killed 11
Fernando Carvalho, a director of Petrobras's oil workers union, said the tilt was "considerable".

"For me, there's no surprise if it totally keeled over," he said, adding that the union officially complained to Petrobras about the rig's electricity problems in May.

Analysts predict that every day the P-34 is not operational will cost Petrobras about $1 million in lost revenue, Reuters news agency reported.

See also:

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