Lightning Protection in Azerbaijan: Transition Period Challenges

Azerbaijan took a special place among the USSR Republics. Before uncovering oil fields in the Western Siberia in the 1960s, the republic was the main oil and oil product supplier throughout the entire large country. In separate years, its share in the fuel production reached 80%. Before and after the exploration of the Siberian fields, the Azerbaijan SSR took a large share in the Soviet oil production.


In the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, the republic encountered major political and economic problems. The consequences of the breakup of the USSR were exaggerated by the world oil price decrease. Nevertheless, by the end of the 1990s, the political situation in Azerbaijan has stabilized, and the republic could gain a significant benefit from high oil prices established in the mid-2000s. A part of oil dollar revenue was directed to the infrastructure upgrading, which allowed the Azerbaijan business to become competitive in the world market not only in the materials sector.

Attractiveness for Investors

Azerbaijan is of special interest for the Russian investors. Let's begin with that the country is linked to Russia with their common history. Since 1828, it has been a part of the Russian Empire, and the Azerbaijan regions and provinces had a particular degree of independence. In 1920, in Azerbaijan, the Soviet regime was established. In 1922, Azerbaijan became a part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in the USSR, and in 14 years, it became an independent Soviet republic. In 1991, after the breakup of the USSR, Azerbaijan became an independent entity.


The most important industry in Azerbaijan is oil production and processing. The second place is taken by the agriculture and food industry. Their products successfully replace food from the EU countries in Russia. Today, tourism in Azerbaijan is the industry that is the third in its significance and very attractive for investors. This can be understood as that the republic has a unique climate and many points of interest.

For the above industries, buildings should be built, and the enterprises should be provided with power and communications. And surely, we have to provide the reliable lightning protection for all of these facilities.

Standardization in Azerbaijan

In 2016, due to the drop in the world oil prices, Azerbaijan took the course to the economy diversification and increase in exports. One of the methods to achieve the set goals is the transition to the international standards and the European systems of technical regulations. On April 20, 2018, in Azerbaijan, the State Committee for Standardization, Metrology, and Patents was removed. The control functions for the standard implementation were handed over to the State Agency for Antimonopoly Policy and Supervision over the Consumer Market. The path thus opens to the full transition to the European and international standards.

However, there still exists an old standardization system in Azerbaijan, which is significantly similar to the current Russian system. There are state standards that are mandatory, and this refers primarily to the standards, upon which the people's lives and health depend. Along with them, there are also non-mandatory standards, the compliance of which is declared in product specifications by the manufacturer (but if they are declared, you must meet them, otherwise, you will be punished). Moreover, the standard that was initially developed as optional, may become mandatory if it is referenced as mandatory in any law. It means that in order to work in Azerbaijan, it is not enough just to have a standard collection book, you should also know if a standard is mentioned in any law as mandatory.


Features of Lightning Protection in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a region characterized by a high level of storm activity. Remember that in 2012, the lightning strike into the thermal power plant led to the blackout in the 40% of the country territory. Also note that there are many earthquakes in Azerbaijan, which imposes certain limitations in the course of the lightning arrester design. To take into account these factors in the lightning protection design, we need experienced specialists.

Problems and Ways of Their Solution

The major problem faced by the Russian specialists who are going to install the lightning protection in Azerbaijan is that local standards as well as departmental instructions have not been translated either into Russian or into English. It seems that, due to the transition to international standards, this problem becomes insignificant: take international standards source or even their adaptation into Russian. But this is not so simple. As it was noted, the international standards require the approval of the Azerbaijan authorities. The period, within which the transition will be performed to the European and international standards, will extend until 2023. You cannot know, which of the international standards are already introduced, from the Internet, especially if you do not know the Azerbaijan language. Moreover, we can add difficulties associated with the determination of which standards are mandatory and which of them are recommended.
Due to the specified problems, it is better to avoid risks by applying the international standards in the lightning protection design, but contact specialists with the experience of the project implementation in Azerbaijan. Such specialists are available in the Technical Center. By contacting them, you can generate an earthing system design that will comply with both the features of the natural conditions of Azerbaijan and the standards effective in the country.

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