earches of missing 26 oilmen continue – UPDATE

By: Aynur Karimova

Searches of 26 oil workers missing in the Caspian Sea continue, but, unfortunately, no results have been achieved as of 11:00 local time, Balamirza Alirahimov, the chief engineer at Azneft Production Union of Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR told journalists on December 8.

He said four helicopters of the Emergency Situations Ministry of Azerbaijan, and two helicopters of the State Border Service have joined the searches this morning.

Also, five ships are conducting searches on the territory of Guneshli field.

Last Friday, a fire broke out on the offshore platform #10 of SOCAR’s Gunashli offshore field, after an underwater high-pressure gas pipeline was damaged in strong storm.

The wind speed hit 38-40 meters per second, while the storm lasted for about 27 hours.

As a result of strong wind, the height of waves reached a height of 8-10 meters. The waves caused an explosion on one of the pipes running from one of the gas wells to the platform No 10. The explosion did not link to the deck or wells. The explosion of the gas lift pipeline caused a fire on the platform.

Out of 63 people who were on platform at the moment of accident only 33 were rescued, while 23 are still regarded missing with seven dead.

Also, as a result of the storm, a booth on base #501 got washed out to the sea at approximately 12:30 local time, on December 4. At the time, the booth contained three people – Javad Khudaverdiyev, Bahman Jafarov and Rovshan Mammadov.

Alirahimov further added that the fire is continuing in several gas wells.

“The wells caught fire because it wasn’t possible to quickly extinguish the fire and due to the windy weather on the day the explosion occurred,” he noted. “It was possible to install water pipeline holders at the field to deliver water to the scene under high pressure.”

“Works will be completed by night to connect it [the pipeline] to the platform’s infrastructure,” he said, adding that this will allow delivering up to 2,000 cubic meters of water for extinguishing the fire at the platform.

Meanwhile, Salim Muslumov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Population, told journalists that the amount of insurance payments to be paid by the “PASHA Life” insurance company to the families of each of the victims, could reach approximately 140,000 manats.