Industry News

Deadly Fire, Possible Oil Spill in Caspian Sea

As a result of a strong storm on 4 December 2015, a high-pressure underwater gas pipeline was damaged causing a fire at platform #10 in the Guneshli field of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan. Large-scale rescue operations resulted in 33 people being rescued. The bodies of seven oil workers have been recovered, but 23 people are listed as missing.

 

According to SkyTruth, reports from a local worker's association put the death toll at 32, though those reports have not been confirmed by SOCAR, the Azerbaijani state oil company.

While SOCAR did not report any signs of oil spills, SkyTruth shared a Sentinel 1A satellite image collected by the European Space Agency on December 7 that seemed to contradict that report.

According to SkyTruth, “We observe a dark slick measuring 192 square kilometers in area, and appearing to originate from the same coordinates as the fire and smoke plume seen on these MODIS satellite images. Assuming this is oil, and operating on the conservative estimate that this slick is only one micron thick, that 192 sq. km. slick translates to over 50,000 gallons of contaminant. Furthermore, that does not count the many other smaller oil slicks that we routinely see emanating from the surrounding, aging infrastructure in the Caspian Sea.”

A video of the fire can be viewed here.

SkyTruth’s coverage can be found here.

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