Thirty oil workers are missing soon after the rig they had been functioning on in the Caspian Sea was engulfed by a fire, Azerbaijan’s state energy firm SOCAR says.
Another 32 had been rescued, the company mentioned on its internet site, listing the names of 62 workers caught up in the disaster.
The head of Azerbaijan’s Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Committee stated 32 workers had died.
The office of president Ilham Aliyev stated earlier that a single person had died in the blaze that broke out on Friday, with the rescue operation to retrieve the other staff hampered by a violent storm.
The storm had on damaged a gas line on the platform in the deep water Guneshli section of the Azeri-Chiraq-Guneshli offshore oil field, causing the fire, SOCAR stated in a statement.
Spectacular footage on Azeri television showed the platform engulfed in flames in the midst of a raging sea.
“In spite of undesirable weather situations, 32 folks could be saved,” Mr Aliyev stated. “According to preliminary info, a single person died. At this time, rescue operations continue.”
Azerbaijan’s state prosecutor’s workplace said the individual had died on Friday evening when the lifeboat he was in with 3 others was hit by heavy winds.
Employees had taken refuge in lifeboats that had been lowered to ten metres above the water, prosecutors added.
The oil rig’s stricken gas line had been damaged by winds of up to 144 kilometres an hour, the prosecution service stated.
A mostly Muslim country of 9 million wedged between Russia and Iran, Azerbaijan is a essential partner in projects to deliver Caspian Sea energy reserves to the West through pipelines to Turkey, bypassing Russia.
Around 60 percent of SOCAR’s oil production passes through the platform where the fire broke out, which means the company’s output will be temporarily hit.
The bulk of Azerbaijan’s oil is created elsewhere, however, including on fields operated by British oil main BP.
BP Azerbaijan was not offered for comment on whether adverse climate in the Caspian or the fire on SOCAR’s platform had impacted its production.
Fourteen workers had been killed in accidents on SOCAR’s oil and gas platforms in 2014.
Topics: disasters-and-accidents, oil-and-gas, azerbaijan