Over 1,000 Oil Workers Evacuated in Azerbaijan Ahead of Storm

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More than 1,000 oil workers of SOCAR’s “Azneft” Production Union have been evacuated from Azerbaijan’s Caspian offshore platforms due to the severe weather conditions in the country, state news agency AZERTAC said Friday. Phone messages were sent to all sites of offshore oil and gas production departments in connection with meteorological forecasts, “Azneft” spokesman Ibrahim Ahmadov said. He said that only the required number of duty officers remained at offshore oil and gas production facilities.

“Measures have been taken to evacuate over 1,000 workers from offshore platforms by air and sea transport. The situation is under constant control,” he said.

A strong storm has been forecast to hit Azerbaijan’s part of the Caspian sea on March 30. Strong windy weather will continue until March 31 morning with north-west wind speeds of 32-35 m/s in some parts of the Absheron peninsula, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.

SOCAR’s “Azneft” Production Union is developing 34 oil and gas fields, 20 of which are onshore and 14 located in Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea.

On Dec. 4, 2015, a deadly fire broke out in the northern part of platform at the western section of Azerbaijan’s Gunashli oilfield operated by SOCAR. The fire started when a high-pressure subsea gas pipeline was damaged in a heavy storm. As a result of the fire, the platform, which had been in service since 1984, partially collapsed. At the time of the accident, 63 workers were on the platform. Ten workers were confirmed killed, 20 missing, 33 were rescued and nine were hospitalized.

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