MOSCOW, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to his Azerbaijani counterpart following a fatal accident at an oil platform in the Caspian Sea.
At least two people were confirmed dead by the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan after a gas line failed at the Guneshli oil platform during heavy storms. At least 29 people were missing.
“Please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of life in the Guneshli oil platform fire,” Putin said in a letter to Azerbaijani President Illham Aliyev.
The accident may be among the biggest oil-field tragedies in Azerbaijani history. The state oil company said extinguishing the blaze was within state powers and the main task now was to find missing workers. At least 32 people were rescued as of Monday.
Three workers were killed in a rig accident last October when parts of a platform at the Narimanov oil and gas field in the Caspian Sea collapsed during repair operations.
More than half of SOCAR’s oil production passes through the Guneshli oil platform. The Azerbaijani-Chirag-Guneshli oil and natural gas complex, and the Shah Deniz gas field, off the coast of Azerbaijan are among the largest of their kind.
Azerbaijani natural gas supplies in particular are included in a regional tug-of-war. British energy company BP will eventually send gas from the Shah Deniz to Europe through a network designed to weaken Russia’s grip on the energy sector.
Azerbaijan is a former Soviet republic