WikiLeaks Cable: BP Explosion In Azerbaijan

In today's WikiLeaks installment, everyone's favorite oil company (BP) has a blowout on a drilling platform in Azerbaijan, and later blames a "bad cement job" for the problem.

Via The Guardian, this little nugget in a series of cables concerning conflicts between the government of Azerbaijan and BP management over the blowout in September, 2008:

It has closed off a "few suspect wells" from which they think a bad cement job caused the leaking gas (which is actually good news, since had it been a reservoir leak the damage would have been potentially non-repairable, whereas now all BP has to do is fix the cement job around a few wells, a hard and expensive job to be sure, but preferable to losing the platform).

The blowout put workers in immediate danger, and sounds strikingly similar to the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico:

(C) Schrader said that the September 17th shutdown of the Central Azeri (CA) platform, in which the "red button" was pressed after detection of a gas leak on the Central Azeri Platform that led to the evacuation of 211 platform workers off the platform, was the largest such emergency evacuation in BP's history. Given the explosive potential, BP was quite fortunate to have been able to evacuate everyone safely and to prevent any gas ignition. Gas bubbles on the water's surface were no longer observed from the air by September 19th.

Other notable cables include an ongoing conflict between the Azerbaijan government and BP, including one interesting exchange where the government accuses BP of stealing "billions" from their country.

BP, in its usual bludgeoning style, limited information related to the explosion, even when dealing with the Azerbaijan government.

Oil is a huge subject in these cables. From South America to East Asia, many of the cables deal with oil companies either doing deals with governments in these countries or trying to do deals. Including Iran. In a report of a March, 2009 meeting with Iraq's Prime Minister, the following conversation is noted:

The PM said he is currently in negotiations with Chevron to develop various oil fields, to include a cross-border oil field with Iran (NFI). The PM claimed that Chevron had told him that it had already raised the issue of a cross-border development with Tehran as well. (Note: We have no independent confirmation of this; end note.) The PM asked the CDA about the political feasibility of such a deal involving a U.S. firm working both sides of a cross-border field, given current USG policies toward Iran. The CDA noted that U.S. law on sanctions would apply, but added that the Administration was reviewing its policies on Iran. PM al-Maliki said that he prefers to go with Chevron on the deal; however, he remarked that if U.S. rules prevent Chevron from doing this project, he would approach a non-American firm.

More than anything else, this last blurb makes me want to yank every single military and civilian person in Iraq out. Right now. If al-Maliki is going to do deals in partnership with Tehran and Chevron, why the heck should we finance his country's security with our blood. He's a double-dealing, two-timing shyster who should do his deals and suffer the consequences. To hell with them.

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