SOCAR: Oil production from emergency platform suspended

By: Aynur Karimova

Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR has stopped production from the emergency platform #10 of the Gunashli oil field in the Caspian Sea.

Such a step was taken to prevent the further spread of fire which occurred on the platform #10, after an underwater high-pressure gas pipeline was damaged in strong storm.

This was stated by Balamirza Agarahimov, the chief engineer of SOCAR’s Azneft Production Association, at a press conference on December 9.

“Communication with the emergency platform #10 has been cut off,” Agarahimov said. “We want to fully suspend production at the platform, not to reduce the production volumes.”

He said that currently, five ships continue to extinguish the fire.

“Due to the bad weather conditions, the work on connecting the water supply binding couldn’t be completed yet,” he added.

Touching upon the search of missing 26 oilmen, Agarahimov said that the underwater search for oil workers has been currently suspended due to the strong wind, which reaches 23 meters per second with gusts up to 30 meters per second.

“Despite the bad weather, the search for the missing oil workers continues since the morning,” he noted, adding that helicopters are also involved in search operations.

“There are a lot of flyovers and platforms in this water area,” Agarahimov said. “If we get any information from them regarding the oil workers’ whereabouts, ships will be sent there.”

He also said that the experts of the Boots & Coots Company prepare a plan of the necessary work. They don’t extinguish the fire, but work to prevent oil spill when the fire is extinguished.

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

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.