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Baku, Azerbaijan, May 31
Azerbaijan is known in the world as a reliable partner producing and exporting oil and gas to markets, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said.
He made the remarks at the opening of the 24th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference and the 7th Caspian International Power and Alternative Energy Exhibition in Baku May 31.
He went on to add that this already is the 24th exhibition being held in the country.
The interest in the exhibition is not declining, on the contrary, it is growing, said the president.
“It was mentioned here that around 300 companies are participating in this exhibition. I am fully confident that this year’s exhibition will be successful as well. But, of course, the holding of the first exhibition played a special role in popularizing our country in the world, because at that time, Azerbaijan was not known. Azerbaijan was a young, independent country, there were a lot problems. The exhibition played an indispensible role in presenting our country’s oil and gas potential to the world,” said President Aliyev.
The president expressed gratitude to the organizers of the exhibition, adding that they have been cooperating with Azerbaijan for 24 years already and have been making great contributions to the country’s development.
He pointed out that the first exhibition had a special meaning in presenting Azerbaijan to the world as a country with huge potential.
“Since then Azerbaijan has been able to build a very successful cooperation with foreign investors in the oil and gas sphere,” he added.
The president noted that this cooperation was built on mutual interests.
“Both the state and investors are reaping the benefits. An excellent format of cooperation with foreign investors has been created in Azerbaijan. Today, this format also manifests itself in other spheres,” he added.
President Aliyev reminded that currently Azerbaijan’s main priority is the development of the non-oil sector.
“We are now trying to apply our experience gained in the oil sector, especially our experience of cooperation with foreign investors, to the non-oil sector, and we have achieved success in this work.”
He noted that Azerbaijan is an oil country and oil was first extracted here in 1846.
“Historical documents have been revealed. A while ago I gave an instruction to once again review the documents at various libraries and museums of the world and to get more accurate information,” he said.
President Aliyev noted that new historical documents were revealed and those documents show that oil was extracted in the first oil well in Azerbaijan, in Baku’s Bibiheybat area, in 1846.
“This year we set up a monument to that old oil well in that area to celebrate this landmark event and I am sure the area will be of great interest for the tourists visiting Baku,” said Ilham Aliyev.
He reminded that the first ever offshore extraction of oil in the world was carried out in Azerbaijan, in the Caspian Sea, in the mid-20th century.
“In this sense, it can be said that Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea are the motherland of the offshore oil production,” added President Aliyev.
Further in his speech, Ilham Aliyev said the Contract of the Century, signed in 1994, is a historic project, noting that the Contract has an exceptional place in the development of the Azerbaijani state.
“Successful implementation of the Contract, allowed us to direct the oil money to human capital, non-oil sector, and infrastructure projects and to develop our country,” added Ilham Aliyev.
He also touched upon the extension of the term of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli contract.
“I hope that in the near future we will reach an agreement with foreign investors on extension of this project’s term, because the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field has a great potential,” he said, adding the field has a quite large volume of oil that hasn’t been extracted so far.
He further said the investment put in Azerbaijan is kept, protected here transparently.
Ilham Aliyev further touched upon the Shah Deniz project, and said the project needs to be highlighted when speaking about the International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition’s importance. He reminded that the contract on the Shah Deniz project was signed in 1996 exactly during the International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition.
“That time, Azerbaijan was known as solely an oil country. Implementation of the Shah Deniz project has turned Azerbaijan into a country producing and exporting both oil and gas,” he added. “Today, we cannot imagine the regional cooperation without the Shah Deniz project, because the Shah Deniz project is a project that solves exactly the energy security issues.”
Ilham Aliyev further said that over the past years, Azerbaijan has been able to create a many-branched oil and gas transportation network. He pointed to the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa oil pipelines, and reminded that the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline has been operating for 10 years already.
“All of these are historic projects,” he said.
Ilham Aliyev also noted that Azerbaijan’s oil and gas projects are the guarantors of the region’s security, stability, and development. He said the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Supsa oil pipelines and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline are Azerbaijan’s great wealth.
The president also said the development of the Shah Deniz Stage 2 is proceeding successfully.
Reminding that Azerbaijan is today implementing the Southern Gas Corridor project, the president said the project is unique on the global scale. The project holds the first place among the infrastructure projects in Europe, Ilham Aliyev said, adding $40 billion are envisaged to be invested in the project, and a great part of this figure has already been invested.
“The work is continuing successfully on four segments of the Southern Gas Corridor,” he said, revealing the figures on implementation of the four SGC projects. “The Shah Deniz 2 project has been implemented by 93 percent. The South Caucasus Pipeline has been realized by 85 percent. The TANAP project has been implemented by 72 percent and we are expecting to mark the commissioning of the TANAP project the next year. And the fourth project is the TAP, which is complete by 42 percent.”
These figures are demonstrative, he said, adding, “They show that all the work is going on in line with the plan and we are near to completing the Southern Gas Corridor project.”
Ilham Aliyev also touched upon the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council’s Third Ministerial Meeting held in Baku this year, and said the resolution adopted there showed once again that Azerbaijan is the leader of the SGC project.
Further during his speech, the president said the energy security issues are the issues of the countries’ national security, adding that Azerbaijan plays an important role in this sphere both in the region and in Europe.
“Our steps for energy diversification are bearing fruits, and this is very important,” Ilham Aliyev said. “The advantage of the Azerbaijani-implemented projects is that our routes and sources are both diverse.”
He said that today the European market is the main market for Azerbaijan, and for Europe the new sources are of great significance. Ilham Aliyev added that Azerbaijan is the sole new source for the European countries.
President Aliyev also said the Southern Gas Corridor’s realization starts new projects, adding the big Absheron project’s commencement is to come next.
“At the same time, the Umid, Babek and shallow water projects are being implemented,” he said, adding that new production is expected to start in the years to come.
“This means we are boosting our oil and gas potential,” he added.
President Aliyev also noted that Azerbaijan is investing the oil money to other sectors and is seeing the excellent result of this.
“In the four months of this year, Azerbaijan’s exports rose by 41 percent, including the non-oil exports that have increased by 22 percent and the agriculture exports that have gone up by 44 percent. Our rich oil and gas fields will further provide the development of our country for many years,” said President Aliyev.
In conclusion the president once again greeted the event guests and wished success to the Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference.