The Oil Rocks field, which is an administrative part of the Pirallahy district, is located 110 km east of Baku, 50 km south-east of Pirallahy Island in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea. Due to the presence of natural gryphons in the Oil Rocks area, the stones that have come to the surface of the sea are black, so it was previously called Black Stones.
In December 1948, the first construction team was sent by the boat “Transportnik” (Transporter) from Pirallahy Island to Black Stones area, where a 14 m² living space was prepared for the drilling crew and the construction of the drilling bore was carried out. In June 1949, for the purpose of drilling the first exploratory well, the Chvanov ship, which came to the end of its life, was brought and sunk at the required point. On the 7th of November, the well produced a gush of oil (100 tons per day), marking the world’s first offshore oil production. Azerbaijan is the first to develop oil fields in the open part of the Caspian Sea. The first geologist who explored the field was Agha Gurban Aliyev.
The uniqueness of the development of the Oil Rocks field is that new methods that have not been used anywhere else have been applied in this field. Therefore, this field was included in the Guinness Book of Records as the first offshore platform in the open sea.
In 1951, in order to protect the island from wind and waves, 6 additional ships were decommissioned from “Khazartanker” and “Khazardonanma” enterprises and brought here and half sunk, and an artificial bay was created around the island. The ship’s cabins and holds were used as a dining room, medical station, sleeping quarters and other purposes for the members of the drilling crew. The first name of this place “Island of Seven Ships” originates from there. Later, this artificial island-settlement became famous under the name “Oil Rocks”.
The 12 km long, 6 km wide Oil Rocks field was put into development in 1951. Even today, the field is operated by the Oil Rocks OGPD of Azneft PU.
The Oil Rocks field is a strategic communication and infrastructure centre connecting other oil fields of Azerbaijan. Up to 70% of SOCAR’s annual oil and gas production is transferred to the coast from there. After the extracted oil is heated to 35-40°C in special furnaces, it is transported directly to the coast - to the Dubendi terminal through pipes with a length of more than 70 km, and from there it is directed to export or processing according to its destination. Over the years Oil Rocks have turned into a huge production and living complex. More than 180 km of piers have been built here, more than 320 production sites have been installed, and 100 km of oil, gas and water pipelines have been built.
As of the 1st of January 2023, the average daily oil production of the field is 2,762 tons, and water production is 1,507 m³. Since the beginning of development, 178.803 thousand tons of oil, 81.151 thousand m³ of water and 13.955 million m³ of natural gas have been produced. The maximum oil production in the field (7.6 million tons) was achieved in 1967, which is equal to 4.5% of the total production. 1,972 wells have been drilled in the field, of which 412 wells are in the operational well stock.
Geological and technical measures are being continued on the existing well stock in order to fully absorb the oil resources, maintaining stable production, improving the oil extraction method, and drilling new wells in prospective areas.
The films titled “Oil Rocks”, “Island of Wonders”, “Black Stones”, “The Story of Caspian Oilmen”, “Sea Conquerors”, “Miracle in the Sea”, “Two Xazars”, “City on Steel Poles”, “Oil Rocks – town on the sea” and others were shot about the Oil Rocks. Some fragments of the James Bond series The World Is Not Enough were filmed there. World-known composers Gara Garayev, Tofig Guliyev and Vagif Mustafazade dedicated works to Oil Rocks. Artists Sattar Bahlulzadeh, Maral Rahmanzadeh and Tahir Salahov have depicted this island of miracles in paintings. Nowadays, residential buildings, a helipad, medical and sanitary department, shops, etc. are located in this area. Trees were planted and a park was built on the field’s steel platforms. Boat and helicopter communications operate between Baku and Oil Rocks now.