In addition to current news, one short, but already familiar and therefore frightening statement drew the attention last week. The search-rescue staff, which is operating in the Caspian, has announced about discovery of the 9th body in the search zone. The identity of the person found on April 6 has already been determined. It is indeed one of the missing employees of SOCAR – Azay Zulfugarov. The statistics told about 10 previously missing oilmen who went missing as a result of the collapse (December 15, 2016) of a 150m long pier at the custody-transfer facility at Sangachal-Khara-Zira-Duvanniy field. The body of one of the oilmen was found on the same day. The bodies of four more people were found in 2017. The search of oilmen, who went missing after the accident in December 2015, had been carried out in different sectors of the Caspian before. Operator Samir Asadov and mechanic Elchin Hasanov are still being searched. SOCAR has already granted aid to families of oilmen who went missing in the sea at Sangachal-Khara-Zira-Duvanniy field on December 15, 2016. SOCAR provided a financial aid worth 185 thou 712.33 manats and $3.063 thou to oilmen’s families, the Company said in December 2016.
Anyone can understand the feelings of those who already lost their brother, husband, father, son or a friend in a tragedy. But what if this tragedy lasts for them for two long years? Rescue teams, performing search operations in the different sectors of the Caspian, manage to find missing oilmen one by one almost every day. What do relatives of the victims of SOCAR’s next man-caused accident feel in this case?
Things happening in the Caspian now evoke associations with one of the stories of my grandfather – a man who constructed one of the legendary T-34 tanks of the Second World War and was of German ancestry by a twist of fate. He managed to live through the blockade of Leningrad (Saint-Petersburg) and the evacuation of the strategic plant to the South Urals under tough bombings. But it was always hard and painful for him to speak about that war period when all those who could move, as well as famine stricken residents of the besieged city ran to the bomb-shelter (metro) hearing the metronome notification. But none of them was sure whether they would manage to return home, and their house would survive the air raid. People were dying. It was a war.
But why these things are happening in the company which implements global strategic upstream and midstream projects, invests more than $4.5bln into the oil-gas infrastructure in countries starting from South-East Asia and West Africa right up to North America?
Why do Azerbaijani oilmen – successors of well-known oilmen like Neftchi Gurbanov, Valeriy Kaverichkin, world-known geologist Khoshbakht Yusifzade go to work as to the last battle in a country which was the first to produce oil onshore in 1848 and offshore at Neft Dashlary field (Oil Rocks) in 1949?
For the last two years these tragic accidents have been occurring with a scaring frequency in SOCAR. Since December 4, 2015 (33 people died at Guneshli and Neft Dashalary), captain of the Ministry of Emergency Situations-owned fire-fighting vessel ‘Vihr 9’ Vecheslav Kruchkov died from the heart-attack after the rescue operation carried out at that period. One man died on November 21, 2016 because of the crane crush. 10 oilmen died on December 15, 2016. One of the workers of the drilling contractor, which performed operations at the ‘Deepwater Guneshli’ platform (Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli fields), went missing on November 8.
Without the professionalism, courage and self-sacrifice of rescuers of the Ministry of Emergency Situations-owned rescue vessels which managed to save amid the storm wind the majority of the personnel from the burning ‘Guneshli 10’ platform in 2015, then there would be much more casualties and it would be also one of the big catastrophes in the oil-gas production history.
But what does SOCAR President do at the height of the accident. He tells the media that no casualties occurred (!?), and then he is trying in a noble impulse to go down to the burning platform ‘Guneshli 10’ by the helicopter under the panic objections of the pilot. It is certainly a brave deed, but probably worth not the best Hollywood scenarios.
Besides, SOCAR’s statistics of tragic events and man-caused catastrophes of the recent years exceeds the world statistics on offshore oil-gas production which tells about 4 similar catastrophes throughout the whole history – two in the North Sea, national sectors of Great Britain and Norway, one in the Arctic area of Russia and the last one which occurred 7 years ago in the USA, Gulf of Mexico.
SOCAR’s success – a source of our pride
SOCAR is a transnational company. It is a leading brand, a source of our pride. Alone, its portfolio of investments at foreign markets makes over $4.5bln, mainly in downstream oil-gas infrastructure – in Georgia, Turkey, Ukraine, East and West European countries, Africa and Near East. GPC is one of the big projects of SOCAR. Based on this project the Company gets a license for use of relevant technologies of Technip, Univation, Axens and SinopecTech, while companies-licensors in their turn will provide SOCAR engineering and design-solutions for the project. SOCAR GPC project envisages processing of natural gas and gas condensate, polymerization of C2+ fractions, export of polyethylene and propylene products to Turkey, West Europe and China. “SOCAR Trading and the Polish Oil Company Lotos have reached agreements on oil transportation to Poland, as well as on supply of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) and LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas propane-butane) to the offshore terminal in Gdansk located in the north of this country”, the Company says.
Aurora Fujairah Terminal has extended SOCAR’s activity in the distant markets. Profits gained from this project in 2015 totaled 948 mln manats ($532 mln) which is 257mln manats higher than the figures of the year before. General Director of SOCAR Trading SA Arzu Azimov has recently stated about acquisition of 7 tankers, which is a part of the strategy on market share of the company. According to the agreement, signed last month, SOCAR bought two ‘Suetsmaks’ tankers with the capacity of 120,000 tonnes and 5 ‘Aframaks’ tankers with the capacity of 80,000 tonnes.
The Company is also successfully holding itself out at the global advertisement and PR market through creating support Funds for sport or funding such global sports events as the 2016 UEFA European Football Championships. The Company supports a lot of international and domestic contests, clubs and Federations. World football clubs compete with each other for getting the sponsorship of SOCAR. Noteworthy are also great achievements of SOCAR in the field of education, support to traditional religious confessions abroad, agriculture, construction infrastructure development, achievements in other different non-oil sector spheres, conduction of international conferences and forums, as well as contribution to Mass Media development.
But human life seems to be the main value for all of us. Here comes a question why do oilmen die and what measures has SOCAR taken, how much funds have been invested in order to keep these tragic accidents a horrible thing of the past in history of modern Azerbaijan?...
We hope to answer all these questions in our jubilee 100th issue of Caspian Energy.
Natalya Aliyeva, Editor-in-Chief of Caspian Energy