BP came close to oil rig disaster in Azerbaijan, according to cable

BP narrowly averted a disaster in Azerbaijan similar to that in the Gulf of Mexico, according to WikiLeaks cables released yesterday.

The cables show that the reported “subsurface gas release” in September 2008 was also accompanied by a blowout of a gas injection.

BP’s partners in the gas field were angered that the incident attracted little media coverage and accused BP of being secretive and withholding information from the US authorities.

The company was said to be “fortunate” that it was able to evacuate 212 workers safely at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshi fields in the Caspian Sea, said the cables.

The incident closed two fields and cut production by at least 500,000 barrels a day for months, costing the Azerbaijan government an estimated $40m (£25.6m) to $50m (£32m) a day.

BP insists that it “continues to have a successful and mutually beneficial partnership” with the government of Azerbaijan.

“We meet and discuss business related matters with relevant parties including our partners,” it said.