WB mentions large volume of oil-polluted lands in Apsheron

Business Materials 3 August 2006 10:57 (UTC +04:00)

Within the program for clean-up of oil-polluted lands of Apsheron, the World Bank (WB) is ready to allocate $50 mln credit to Azerbaijan, Peter Thompson, the director of energy and infrastructure sector of WB Infrastructure Department for European and Central Asian countries, told on August 2 at a news conference. We are waiting the government of the country to disburse enough finance for the implementation of the program measures, at the expense of the budget finance, Thompson said. Besides, the revenues received from realization of oil from cleaned up lands may also be directed toward covering the future expenses.

The Bank awaits necessary information from the government about the role of WB in this process and possible form and volume of the participation. According to Thompson, the volume of the polluted lands is large in Azerbaijan, and in accordance with the assessment of the government differs between 10 and 30 thousand ha. The distinction of Azerbaijan from other countries is that there is a large volume of oil-polluted lands in a small territory. The ecological standards are followed within the PSA program because the current pollution doesnt happen practically. It accumulates within centuries, and hundreds of millions of dollars are required for clean-up, Thompson told.

According to him, the private companies voiced their desire to receive oil from cleaned up lands, but the mechanism hasnt been worked out yet. The Bank mentioned its readiness to support the initiative of the government in the realization of the program after the Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev voiced his desire during the session on July 3 to involve WB in this process. In its turn, the Bank has already presented the direction of assistance.

Taking into consideration that these measures cover the activity sphere of many institutions (the ministries of finance, economic development, emergency situations, tourism, ecology), WB offered the government to create a central Agency regulating the clean-up program. According to Thompson, the government positively assessed his proposal and this may find reflection in the order of president on plan of measures for clean-up of oil-polluted lands.