Saturday 5 December 2015

Multiple incidents on oil platforms as the Caspian Sea is battered by storms.

Serious incidents have taken place on at least three oil and gas platforms on the Caspian Sea, as the area has been buffeted by storms bringing high winds and eight meter waves. In the worst incident a rig operated by the Azerbaijani state oil producer, SOCAR, is on fire with 42 of the 63 workers evacuated and the fate of the remaining 11 unclear. This incident is believed to have occurred following the failure of a gas riser (section of pipeline used to transport gas from the seafloor to the surface) at about 6.00 pm local tine on Friday 4 December 2014, with the entire of the platform now apparently burning freely. Two fire fighting boats and a diving vessel have been deployed to help with the rescue operation at this platform.

Burning hydrocarbons platform on the Caspian Sea on 4 December 2015. TREND.

Three workers are missing from a second SOCAR platform after a cabin was swept overboard in high winds early on the morning of Saturday 5 December, following the partial collapse of an accommodation module. In a third incident a former drilling vessel, the Gurban Abasov, which was being used as a floating accommodation block at the BP owned Chirag Platform has reportedly lost three of its anchors and been evacuated and moved away from the platform, which is currently shut down for maintenance work.

The Caspian coast of Azerbaijan is notorious for its high winds and severe winter storms, driven by the cold Khazri winds that sweep through the area from Central Asia. In El Niño years, such as 2015, this is joined by higher levels of warming over the southern Caspian, leading to higher levels of evaporation and therefore rainfall, as well as more storm fronts as the cool Khazri winds collide with warm air masses over the southern Caspian.

Storm on the southern Caspian Sea on 4 December 2015. Oil and Gas People.

The El Niño is the warm phase of a long-term climatic oscillation affecting the southern Pacific, which can influence the climate around the world. The onset of El Niño conditions is marked by a sharp rise in temperature and pressure over the southern Indian Ocean, which then moves eastward over the southern Pacific. This pulls rainfall with it, leading to higher rainfall over the Pacific and lower rainfall over South Asia. This reduced rainfall during the already hot and dry summer leads to soaring temperatures in southern Asia, followed by a rise in rainfall that often causes flooding in the Americas and sometimes Africa. Worryingly climatic predictions for the next century suggest that global warming could lead to more frequent and severe El Niño conditions, extreme weather conditions a common occurrence.

See also.. rig on fire in Caspian Sea.                       A gas rig belonging to the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) has been burning since around midnight local time between Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 August 2013 (about 7.00 pm on Saturday 17 August GMT). The No 90 Exploration Well, roughly 80 km...
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