Sources close to Azerbaijan’s state energy company SOCAR has announced that 32 have died on an oil platform in the Caspian Sea. Although the oil rig fire has finally been extinguished, reports indicate that up to 84 oil rig workers may be missing, although this statement may be inaccurate or out of date. It is also possible the number of deaths has been greatly overestimated, and reports on the number of SOCAR workers trapped in the Azerbaijan oil rig fire has varied.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, it is predicted that 2016 oil prices will remain low, and experts believe Saudi Arabia would rather cooperate than compete with Russia and Iran.
The Azeri oil platform fire started during high winds on the Caspian Sea. It is believed that the storm damaged a natural gas pipeline and the resulting oil rig fire caused the platform to partially collapse. The 28 oil wells linked to the oil production facility were shut down as a precaution. In addition, all oil and gas pipelines linking the oil rig to the shore were blocked, which is significant since about 60 percent of SOCAR’s oil production passes through this particular platform.
Earlier in the day, a statement on the Azerbaijan oil rig fire said that 32 SOCAR workers had been safely evacuated but at least one person died.
“One body was found and a search-and-rescue operation for 30 missing workers is under way,” the statement said. “The fire in the gas pipeline has not been completely extinguished and it has not been ruled out that it could spread to oil and gas wells near the platform.”
Just today ●Oil tanker exploded in Ojuelgba ●Oil Rig catches Fire in Aztherman ●Oil well in syria bombed by UK Airstrikes Oil Oil Oil Oil
— Ian.M. Oswald (@ianz_life) December 5, 2015
But the head of Azerbaijan’s Oil Workers’ Rights Protection Committee, Mirvari Gakhramanly, told Reuters that 32 had died on the oil platform and 42 had been rescued.
“According to our information, 32 workers died, while 42 workers were rescued last night…. The fire on the platform was finally extinguished,” said Gakhramanly.
An unnamed SOCAR worker called Reuters from the oil platform and claimed that 84 people were trapped by the oil rig fire at one point. The Reuters report noted that this statement may be out of date, and the SOCAR Facebook page also said that 26 workers were rescued on Saturday.
The Facebook statement did not give details on the number of deaths associated with the Azerbaijan oil rig fire, or how many workers had initially been trapped by the flames. In addition, the Azeri news agency ARA said that 63 people were trapped on the oil platform, which does not match the numbers provided by the independent committee.
When the earlier statement was released, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree to form a special commission to deal with the oil rig accident and control the search and rescue operation, which is still ongoing. A criminal case was also opened to investigate the Azerbaijan oil rig fire.
— Arzu Geybulla (@arzugeybulla) December 5, 2015
In a separate incident which occurred on Friday, three SOCAR workers went missing from another of the company’s offshore oil platforms in the Caspian after an accident during the storm. As of this publishing, the SOCAR oil workers were still missing. All in all, 14 workers were killed in accidents on SOCAR’s oil and gas platforms in 2014.
[Image via Archie Goodwin/YouTube]