BAKU, Azerbaijan, Aug.31
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) is not considering the purchase of the Ashdod oil refinery, the company told Trend.
"We have received such a proposal, but SOCAR is not currently considering investing in this project," the company said.
Israeli Calcalist newspaper and website earlier reported that SOCAR is interested in buying Israeli Ashdod oil refinery which has been put on sale.
"SOCAR is holding talks with some Israeli companies, as it needs a local partner for the purchase," the report said.
SOCAR is the major supplier of oil to Israel.
Ashdod oil refinery, located in Ashdod city, is the second largest refinery in Israel. It is located in an industry zone in the city’s northern part, not far from the Ashdod port.
Earlier, Israeli ambassador to Azerbaijan George Deek said there are three major areas of energy cooperation between the two countries with one of them being oil.
He noted that Azerbaijani oil covers 30 percent of oil consumption in Israel.
“So, for us, that is a very strategic element of our cooperation in relationship,” said the diplomat.
Deek went on to add that the second area of cooperation is gas exploration.
“Azerbaijan has many decades of experience in exploring and extracting oil and gas onshore and offshore. In Israel, we have only recently, about ten years ago discovered large amounts of gas in the Mediterranean Sea. We are extracting gas and trying to send it to Europe. I think in that sense, firstly, Israel and Azerbaijan are both a part of the same effort of trying to diversify the sources of gas that goes to Europe, instead of keeping everything in the hands of one country. Secondly, I believe that there is a lot of room and potential for Azerbaijani companies with their experience and knowledge they have to come to Israel and to try to explore gas in several places where we are still publishing tenders for companies who want to come and explore. We’ve already found very significant volumes of gas in Tamar, Leviathan and we believe there is even more gas in the sea. We’ve signed cooperation agreements and gas sales agreements with our neighbors. We sell gas to Egypt, Jordan. Now we’ve agreed on construction of the EastMed pipeline. Only recently, about three months ago, we opened EastMed Gas Forum. We would like to have Azerbaijani companies coming to Israel and joining the efforts for exploration. It is also a part of increasing our bilateral trade,” said the envoy.
He believes that the third area of cooperation is alternative energy.
“Azerbaijan right now is trying to develop more and more alternative energy resources. It has published tenders and is trying to develop wind and solar energy spheres. Israel is quite advanced in solar energy. We’ve begun to develop our solar energy more than a decade ago, much before most countries in the world. Already in 60s, houses in Israel had a solar panel on the roof. Now, of course, we have much more advanced solar energy technologies that are able to generate more power using the solar energy. Azerbaijan is now entering the world of alternative energy in the last few years and it has advanced already. Solar energy is a field where I would like to see more cooperation between our countries,” said Deek.
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