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One of the Most Important Environmental Projects Carried out By SOCAR is the Ecological Park

One of the Most Important Environmental Projects Carried out By SOCAR is the Ecological Park

by February 6, 2021

Azerbaijan Today magazine interviews Vice-President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Rafiqa Huseynzada.

AT: SOCAR has been taking a serious approach to the solution of environmental problems in the recent period. In general, we would like you to share your views about the company’s environmental policy with our readers.

The basis of the environmental policy adopted by the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic in 2008 is “zero waste” from the newly constructed or reconstructed facilities and to minimize the harmful effects at operating facilities. At the same time, the elimination of the existing sources of pollution and reclamation and landscaping of land made unusable by oil and drilling dust, stratal waters, domestic sewage and other waste are in the centre of attention. Complete disposal of all the waste generated by our current production activity, particularly drilling dust, stratal waters and low pressure associated gas is the highest priority.

AT: At present, the global problem in the extractive industry is to reduce the amount of associated gas discharged into the atmosphere as much as possible and to prevent burning of gases. What is the situation like in this sphere in Azerbaijan?

In connection with the implementation of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, an inventory of sources of greenhouse gases has been made at SOCAR enterprises, Joint Ventures and Operating Companies, a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has been prepared, and they have been registered by the CDM Executive Board.

In order to participate more actively in addressing the problem of climate change, SOCAR has drawn up a strategy to reduce the effects of climate change.

Large-scale work has been carried out in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea to prevent low pressure associated gas from being discharged into the atmosphere from fields. For example, 56 NQK-type small-sized compressors have been installed in different stages in the Oil Rocks field, while a compressor station with a capacity of 4 million cubic metres per day has been put in at the fourth platform of the Gunashli field. In addition, within the framework of CDM projects, a project is being prepared to collect and dispose of low pressure associated gas in Oil Rocks and Palchiq Pilpilasi fields.

AT: Last year, SOCAR implemented a very interesting project – an Ecological Park was put into operation in the Absheron Peninsula. We would like to know your thoughts about its practical importance

One of the most important environmental projects carried out by SOCAR is the Ecological Park. The main purpose of the park is to create a modern form of society-environment relations, to carry out an environmental campaign and environmental education, and show every citizen that protecting the environment is his primary social duty. The park was laid out in 10 ha of oil-contaminated soil.

An Eco Centre, a seedlings storehouse, a children’s playground, pumping stations and underground water reservoirs have been constructed, an artificial irrigation ditch and lake have been created, a mill has been installed and a 5,000 m2 complex of seedlings storehouses which meet the most modern standards has been put into operation in the Ecological Park, which was set up in order to normalize the environmental situation in the Absheron Peninsula, expand green zones, cultivate exotic trees, shrubs and decorative plants that can adapt to the local climatic conditions and to grow endangered species of plants in Absheron. A drip irrigation system is being used to irrigate the green areas of the park and to save water.

The Eldar pine, white pine, evergreen cypress, Eastern biota, European olive, Lankaran acacia, Baku calligonum, as well as indoor plants and various decorative flowers are being cultivated in the seedlings storehouse. Wind generators and solar panels have been installed in the park to meet the demand for electricity from alternative energy sources.

AT: What is the situation like in the field of training environmentalist personnel? Considering that environmental problems will play an important role in the company’s policy in future projects, will it be possible to meet the demand for ecologists with the help of local experts?

Training is one of the most important issues. From time to time, we hold various seminars and open classes with leading oil companies and arrange round-table meetings with international environmental organizations.

In order to provide enterprises of SOCAR’s oil and gas extraction and processing complex with specialists that have acquired modern ecological knowledge, students of the Azerbaijan State Oil Academy and other higher education institutions are given scholarships and their expenses on education at the leading higher education institutions in Europe and the United States of America are being paid for. After completing their education, they will return and work at SOCAR enterprises. Also, it should be noted that a High Oil School and a school of special talents will be established soon.

AT: What projects is SOCAR planning to carry out in connection “alternative energy” and “green energy”, which are becoming important in the world today?

At present, SOCAR is negotiating with the German company EKON for the use of hydrogen energy. Thus, a pilot project is being prepared to use this energy in a Mercedes bus in the city of Sumqayit.