President: Azerbaijan successfully fulfills all major tasks in energy sphere (PHOTO)

President: Azerbaijan successfully fulfills all major tasks in energy sphere  (PHOTO)

Azerbaijan, Baku, June 4 / Trend S. Aliyev /

The 20th anniversary of Caspian Oil & Gas 2013 international exhibition is a great historical event. This exhibition has been attracting more and more companies for 20 years already and around 400 companies are participating in the exhibition this time, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the opening ceremony of Caspian Oil & Gas 2013 exhibition on June 4.

"This is a characteristic feature itself," he said. "Despite that around 20 years have passed, the exhibition has not lost its relevance. Its importance has increased even more."

"Although the major oil and gas contracts have been signed, and the foreign companies have been successfully working in Azerbaijan for many years, the significance of the exhibition is growing. Indeed, the congratulatory letters of the U.S. President and British Prime Minister traditionally sent to the participants of the exhibition prove once again the significance of this exhibition."

According to President Aliyev, Azerbaijan has passed a long way for 20 years and has achieved great success in the energy sector.

"We were at the initial stage of the work twenty years ago. The exhibition had much support and played a great role in the development of the Azerbaijani oil and gas sector," President Aliyev said.

He noted that the world didn't know much about Azerbaijan back in 1994, when the first exhibition was hosted.

"It means that the companies operating in the oil sphere knew that Azerbaijan is an oil country, but didn't have enough information about the actual potential and future plans of the country's development. We ourselves could not fully imagine the country's future and its development, despite a new oil strategy which was developed and introduced under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev in Azerbaijan in the mid 1990's," the President underscored.

"Azerbaijan has successfully resolved all main energy issues, ensured its independent economy and strengthened its independence which is the result of this strategy," he said.

"Azerbaijan is a wonderful area for international cooperation," he added. "We have the precise, specific plans for the coming years, whereas 20 years ago there were only programs and intentions for Azerbaijan's development."

"Of course, the signing of the "Contract of the Century" was a historic event, a turning point. It is not an accident that the contract was called the "Contract of the Century" in 1994. Right now, in the 21st century, we can say that this is a contract of two centuries, because today the contract signed within the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oil and gas field development project, has not lost its significance. On the contrary, as a result of this contract implementation, the new routes form the basis for the successful development and implementation of other projects today."

"The significance of the "Contract of the Century" was sufficiently stressed," he said.

"I would like to stress that Azerbaijan was the first country which discovered the Caspian Sea for joint development with foreign companies," he said. "The transport infrastructure connecting the Caspian Sea with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea has been created for the first time. This gave impetus to the successful development of other projects."

According to the President, Azerbaijan has accumulated extensive experience in the international cooperation.

"The revival of other sectors has started in Azerbaijan as a result of the implementation of the Contract of the Century," the President said.

"A wonderful investment climate has been created. Today Azerbaijan ranks first in the CIS in terms of direct foreign investments. We managed to turn the oil capital into human capital, and to direct the revenues from the oil sector to the non-oil sector development," he noted.

President Aliyev noted that none of the opinions once voiced by some analysts, that Azerbaijan will face the "Dutch disease" or the "Oil Curse", did not happen, because Azerbaijan had a thought-out policy and that policy fully ensures the interests of Azerbaijani people.

"The contract on the development of Azerbaijani gas condensate Shah Deniz field was signed during the exhibition in 1996, 17 years ago," he said.

"The gas factor was not taken seriously in Europe and in the world that period," the president said.

"At the time, the signing of the contract on Shah Deniz field didn't cause great resonance in the world. But we knew that the time will come when Azerbaijan will be known in the world not only as an oil country, but as a gas country as well. We knew that the country has very rich gas deposits. We also knew that the long-term and sustainable development of the country will be ensured as a result of development of these fields."

"Shah Deniz gas condensate field has a decisive impact on the energy security of the region as a result of Shah Deniz project implementation and successful international cooperation today," he said.

"It is impossible to imagine the energy security of the region today without Shah Deniz project, because, while speaking of energy security, we mean primarily natural gas," he said. "If the "Contract of the Century" had not been signed and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline had not been built, that is, the route had not been created, then the Shah Deniz project implementation would have been under question," the President said.

He went on to say that the implementation of Shah Deniz project was achieved due to the routes and successful trilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

"And in 2006, after the exploitation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline began, the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline was built in the same corridor.

The President stressed the importance of Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline project (TANAP).

"At this exhibition, I particularly want to stress launching of the implementation of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline project as the most important event of 2012," he said.

The President noted that Azerbaijan and Turkey signed an agreement on TANAP project less than a month after the exhibition in 2012.

The head of Azerbaijani state said that the project has great and historic significance.

"I am very glad that Azerbaijan took the main financial burden and thus there are all opportunities for implementing the project. TANAP is an integral part of the Southern Gas Corridor, and perhaps, its main part. TANAP is a project requiring big financial expenditures. Great technical capabilities must also be demonstrated. We are willing to do this together with the partners and we will do this because TANAP project is the main condition of the successful realization of the Southern Gas Corridor."

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