SOCAR stops production at emergency platform (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on 11:26)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 9

By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:

SOCAR (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan) has stopped production at the emergency platform No.10 of the Azerbaijani Guneshli oil field in the Caspian Sea in order to prevent the further spread of fire, Chief Engineer of SOCAR's Azneft Production Association Balamirza Agaragimov said at a press conference Dec.9.

As a result of a strong storm on Dec.4 at 17:40 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours), a high-pressure underwater gas pipeline was damaged which caused a fire at Guneshli field of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan.

As a result of the large-scale work, 33 people were rescued. Currently, seven oil workers were found dead, while 23 people are listed as missing.

"Communication with the emergency platform No.10 has been cut off," Agaragimov 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," said the chief engineer.

He went on to add 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," said Agaragimov, adding that helicopters are also involved in search operations.

"There are a lot of flyovers and platforms in this water area," said Agaragimov. "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. He went on to add that they don't extinguish the fire, but work to prevent oil spill when the fire is extinguished.

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