Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan Agree on Basic Principles of Trans-Caspian System – Interview with SOCAR’s Kazakhstan Office Head

Kazakhstan, Astana, 22 October / Trend corr. K.Konirova/ Trend 's Astana-based correspondent interviewed Vurgun Jafarov, Director of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) Kazakhstan Office.

Question: Opening of a SOCAR office in Kazakhstan will accelerate and simplify the process of talks on energy cooperation between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. How will this affect preparing an agreement on transporting Kazakh oil through the territory of Azerbaijan?

Answer: The Caspian region is unique, and its significant oil and gas resources still attract special attention of the international community. In recent years, owing to far-sighted and wise policies of the heads of our two republics, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan through their national oil companies have already implemented a number of successful investment energy projects, which have made our nations the leaders in the region. Now the main thing is to properly dispose of that and to continue effective use of the energy and economic potential. Therefore, opening of a SOCAR office in Kazakhstan at this stage of cooperation between the two national companies is a natural event. I hope this will help intensify business cooperation as a whole and enhance the process of such a large project as Trans-Caspian oil transportation system.

Question: How does devising of an agreement on Trans-Caspian project go on?

Answer: Negotiations on the Trans-Caspian project successfully go on. The next meeting of the working negotiating groups of SOCAR and KazMunayGaz is expected to take place in Baku in near future. Currently, the parties coordinate the basic principles for the project, and now an appropriate document can be said to be in its final stage.

Question: Were there differences in the negotiations?

Answer: Any negotiating process is never smooth, and naturally there were some differences. The main thing is that there was cargo, that is oil, and the position or even guarantee of shippers, because the Trans-Caspian project, as we know, is mainly intended for the Tangiz and Kashagan oil.

Such projects should be economically feasible. If they are not, everything will remain on paper and lose its relevance. Time factor is also important, and it should work on the project. Lost time means a lost project, more so now, when all formats are changing. Today, to have the goods is too little. It must be in a package with the transport component. Then it is called a business where you can take and analyze the economic profitability, protect your interests, defend your position.

Question: When the Trans-Caspian project agreement will be signed?

Answer: You can expect that soon. After signing the agreement on basic principles, SOCAR and KMG will create a project company to begin development of project estimates, feasibility studies and other constituents. Question: When the construction on the Trans-Caspian project will be completed?

Answer: Major work on the construction is being carried out in the Kazakhstan section of the Caspian shore, where a pipeline to Kuryk and a port in Kuryk will be built. No less significant part of the project is creation of tanker capacity, expansion of the corridor to receive oil. It is anticipated that in 2012 the transport system will be ready for operation if all the questions set out in the draft are addressed in time. Question: What other fields does the Kazakhstan office intend to cover? Answer: The successful cooperation between Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil companies has a long history and every year the collaboration between our companies is stably enhancing, thereby contributing to the energy security of the region.

SOCAR opened its representative office in Kazakhstan thereby naturally making another step to deepen the business cooperation between the two countries' oil and gas companies. So in the future, along with oil projects, we are ready to participate in other energy projects in the Caspian region on the basis of mutual benefit.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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