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Neft Daşları (Azerbaijani: Neft Daşları, the Oil Rocks, also Neftyanyye Kamni or Neftekamni in Russian) is an industrial settlement in Baku, Azerbaijan. The settlement forms part of the municipality of Çilov-Neft Daşları in the Khazar raion. It lies 100 km (62 mi) away from the Azerbaijani capital Baku, and 55 km (34 mi) from the nearest shore in the Caspian Sea. A full town on the sea, it was the first oil platform in Azerbaijan, and the first operating offshore oil platform in the world, incorporating numerous drilling platforms.
The settlement began with a single path out over the water and grew into a system of paths and platforms built on the back of ships sunk to serve as the Neft Daşları's foundation. The most distinctive feature of Neft Daşları is that it is actually a functional city with a population of about 2,000 and over 300 km (190 mi) of streets built on piles of dirt and landfill.
The settlement was originally named as Chernie Kamni ("Black Stones"), but was later renamed to Neft Daşları ("Oily Rocks"), replacing the allusion to the black colour of oil with a reference to the substance itself.
Construction of the settlement
The first large-scale geological study of the area was conducted in 1945-1948. The settlement of Neft Daşları was built in 1949 after oil was discovered there at 1,100 meters beneath the Caspian Sea and it became the world's first offshore oil platform.
By 1951, the Neft Daşları was ready for production, equipped with all of the infrastructure needed at the time. Drilling platforms were erected, oil tanks installed, and docks with enclosures for ships were built. The first oil from the Neft Daşları was loaded into a tanker in same year.
In 1952, the systematic construction of trestle bridges connecting the artificial islands was begun. A number of Soviet factories constructed crane assemblies especially for use on the Neft Daşları, along with a crane barge that could carry up to 100 tons of oil. The assemblies were equipped with diesel hammers used to drive piles into the sea floor.
Large-scale construction started on the settlement in 1958, which included nine-story hostels, hotels, cultural palaces, bakery factories and lemonade workshops. The mass development of Neft Daşları continued during 1976-1978 with the building of a five-story dormitory and two oil-gas compressor stations, the installation of a drinking water facility, and the construction of two underwater pipelines to the Dubendi terminal, each with a diameter of 350 millimetres (14 in). In addition, a flyover for vehicular traffic was created. As a result, the area of the settlement grew to around 7 ha in the 1960s, with the length of the steel trestle bridges joining the man-made islands exceeding 200 kilometres (120 mi).
In November 2009, the settlement celebrated its 60th anniversary. Over the last 60 years, the oilfields of Neft Daşları have produced more than 170 million tons of oil and 15 billion m³ of associated natural gas. According to present-day estimates by geologists, the volume of recoverable reserves is as high as 30 million tons.
The population varies from time to time in the settlement. As of 2008 the platforms have a combined population of about 2,000 men and women, who work in week-long offshore shifts. At one point 5000 worked there.
In popular culture
- In 2008, a Swiss documentary crew led by film director Marc Wolfensberger filmed "La Cité du Pétrole / Oil Rocks - City above the Sea" in the settlement, which was released in 2009.
- Neft Daşları is featured in a scene in the James Bond film The World Is Not Enough (1999).
- World Gazetteer: Azerbaijan – World-Gazetteer.com
- "Belediyye Informasiya Sistemi" (in Azerbaijani). Archived from the original on September 24, 2008.
- Gale, Timothy. "OIL ROCKS: AN INFRASTRUCTURED SOVIET CITY". Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Theroux, Marcel. "The Rock of Ages". Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Abbasov, Mehti. "НЕФТЯНЫЕ КАМНИ — 60". Bakinskiy Rabochiy Newspaper. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Ibrahimov, Seyyad. "THE EARLY DAYS". Azerbaijan International Magazine. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- "Baku and Oil. The Soviet Period". window2baku.com. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- "OIL PLATFORMS". Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- Blair, Betty. "Oil Rocks in the Caspian". azer.com. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- Igorev, Vladimir. "A MAN-MADE ISLAND OF OIL TREASURES". www.oilru.com. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- "Городу в Каспийском море уже 60 лет". lifenews.ru. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- "Oil Rocks is essential value for Azerbaijani people: president - UPDATE". today.az. Retrieved 25 December 2010.
- Frank, Arno (14 November 2012). "Forbidden City of Oil Platforms: The Rise and Fall of Stalin's Atlantis". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
- "Oil Rocks: City Above the Sea". IMDB.
- Turnbull, James. "Oil Rocks". Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Patterson, Jean. "Agent 007 Movie Scenes Shot in Baku". Azerbaijan International Magazine. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
- Neft Daşları at GEOnet Names Server
- Mir-Babayev M.F. The role of Azerbaijan in the World’s oil industry – “Oil-Industry History” (USA), 2011, v. 12, no. 1, p. 109-123.
- Mir-Babayev M.F. Oil Rocks: the first city on the Caspian Sea – “Reservoir”, Canada, 2012, Volume 39, Issue 4, April, p.33-36.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Neft Daşları.|
- Map of the area
- Photos of Oil Rocks taken in 2013
- Travel guide for Oil Rocks
- English Russia: Oil Stones, A Soviet City in the Middle of the Sea
- Link to the film trailer Oil Rocks - City above the Sea