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Azerbaijan oil company SOCAR lambasted over safety record

20 December 2016

UK-based oil and gas news and recruitment website Oil and Gas People has penned a very critical article on Azerbaijan state-owned oil company SOCAR for its safety record over the last few years. The website says the company has seen an average of 18 worker deaths each year since 2013, a figure which has “disgraced” the company and “left its safety reputation in tatters”.

Stock image
Stock image

SOCAR recorded 14 deaths in 2014, 34 in 2015 and 11 so far in 2016, the website says. The biggest fatality events for the company were in December 2015 when 30 were killed in a fire and lifeboat sinking on the Gunlashi No 10 platform in the Caspian Sea, with a further 10 presumed dead after a walkway on an offshore platform collapsed into the sea during storms a few days ago.

Oil and Gas People contrasted SOCAR, which employed over 61,000 employees in 2014 (and only a fraction of this figure offshore), with the UK Oil Industry, which employed around 260,000 people in 2014 and has seen 2 worker deaths from 2014 to 2016.

It pointed to the fact that in the recent incident, workers were lost when working outside in 90 mph winds, a practice that would not be acceptable anywhere in the North Sea. Also, the company’s reports on these incidents giving the cause as “high winds” or “adverse weather” seem to imply that offshore installations are not designed to withstand such conditions.

“The figures are damning and the timeline shows a repeat of similar incidents that can only question the integrity of previous investigations and whether any lessons learned have been deployed throughout the organisation to prevent further fatalities.

“With oil and gas industry workers giving first hand reports of poor safety standards, inadequate maintenance and substandard conditions aboard SOCAR installations it's no surprise that incidents like those listed above are a frequent occurrence to the organisation”, the website says.

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