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Brazilian state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR, PETR4.BR), or Petrobras, told local port authorities late Wednesday that a fire broke out at an offshore oil platform, days after union officials complained about offshore safety.
The fire broke out after water and hydrocarbon vapors condensed on equipment in the P-35 platform's gas treatment unit, press officials with Brazil's 1st Naval District told Dow Jones Newswires. The platform is installed at the prolific Marlim field in the Campos Basin, where more than 85% of the country's crude is produced.
Platform workers responded to control the fire, and there were no deaths or environmental issues related to the accident, a spokeswoman said. Petrobras officials were not immediately available to comment.
The accident underscored concerns about offshore safety in the wake of the BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) accident in the Gulf of Mexico, where the company's Macondo field gushed crude from a well blowout that took months to shut down.
The union representing platform workers complained earlier this week about working and safety conditions at several offshore platforms, including P-31, P-32, P-33 and P-35. Photos published in local newspapers showed rusted equipment and stairwells that union officials called dangerous.
The P-33 platform was inspected Wednesday by oil regulators and Navy officials. Details on the inspection were expected to be released in coming days. Last week, a local labor court ordered the platform shut down - but Petrobras obtained an injunction to keep P-33 operating.
Late Wednesday, Petrobras said in a statement that it worked to maintain platforms in the harsh environment.
"Platforms on the high seas are submitted to an extremely corrosive atmosphere, typical of marine environments," Petrobras said.
Petrobras said that the P-33 platform would be shut down for maintenance in October.
-By Jeff Fick, Dow Jones Newswires; 55-21-2586-6085; firstname.lastname@example.org