June 1, 2010
AZERBAIJAN PRESIDENT MAKES REMARKS AT OPENING OF 17TH INTERNATIONAL CASPIAN OIL & GAS EXHIBITION AND CONFERENCE
Baku, June 1 (AzerTAc). President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has made remarks at the opening of the 17th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference Incorporating Refining and Petrochemicals.
The President stressed the importance of the Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference, saying: “It is very remarkable that the exhibition`s opening for the first time in 1994 coincided with the launch of Azerbaijan`s oil strategy.”
“A strategic choice made in those years was what ensured Azerbaijan`s present successes. The launch of the oil strategy, Azerbaijan`s successful policy towards integration into the world community, economic reforms, huge investments in economy – all this ensured today`s development of Azerbaijan. And today we are the country which is successfully developing on the global scale.”
“We all are well aware that if it was not for national leader Heydar Aliyev`s resolute steps in 1994 and if it was not for the signing of the Contract of the Century, Azerbaijan could have faced quite another destiny. The signing of the Contract of the Century not only allowed Azerbaijan to open rich resources of the Caspian basin to world countries, but also ensured the country`s long-term and successful development.”
“Huge investments, successful and mutually advantageous relations with foreign companies, the increase in production, our economic development, construction of oil pipelines and transportation of Azerbaijan`s natural resources via these pipelines to European and world markets are the factors reflecting the country`s realities.”
“With great pleasure we say that today Azerbaijan`s economy is not so much dependent on the oil factor. However, the oil and gas factor will both ensure Azerbaijan`s economic interests and strengthen the country`s positions on the global scale for many long years ahead. Our non-oil sector, at the same time, is also very rapidly developing.”
The President highlighted history of Azerbaijan`s oil industry: “Azerbaijan is an ancient land of oil. It is Azerbaijan where oil was for the first time extracted using industrial method. It is Azerbaijan where oil was for the first time in the world extracted from onshore fields. We`ve recently celebrated the 65th anniversary of the Victory over fascism, and if it was not for Azerbaijan`s oil and tireless work of Azerbaijani oilmen, the war could have had quite another end.”
President Ilham Aliyev praised the country`s cooperation with the world`s leading oil companies.
“Being a reliable partner, we`re successfully cooperating with the world`s leading energy companies. Today, Azerbaijan`s state oil firm, SOCAR, is among the world`s leading companies. Azerbaijani companies are now making big investments in other countries. These investments worth billions, and this process will be continued.”
“In mid-1990s we had several tasks to fulfill: starting production, ensuring the intensification of work on the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field, and building oil and then gas pipelines. And we`ve solved all these tasks. Today, Azerbaijan`s oil and gas production meets not only the country`s domestic needs, but is also a great export resource. This year Azerbaijan`s oil production will make an estimated 52 million tons, while gas production 30 billion cubic meters. And this is three times more than Azerbaijan`s domestic demand.”
The President highlighted the country`s export potential.
“Azerbaijan is exporting its energy resources in different directions via oil and gas pipelines. And the geography of our export routes is being expanded year by year, because new markets need Azerbaijan`s energy resources. And what we want is to get maximum use of our oil and gas potential.”
“We have three oil and four gas pipelines. They fully ensure the diversification of our energy export routes… And ongoing technical work will considerably increase our gas export potential. We are making huge investment in this sphere, and this will be justified.”
The Head of State praised the country`s investment climate.
“Azerbaijan is a very favorable and attractive country for investments. Some $82 billion has been invested in Azerbaijan`s economy since 1995. Almost half of them has been invested in the oil and gas sector. Surely, first years of our oil strategy saw investment made mostly in the oil and gas sector, which was a source of concern for some experts. They feared that Azerbaijan would face the Dutch disease, that Azerbaijan`s economy would experience lop-sided development.”
“But our well-considered policy and concrete steps proved that Azerbaijan`s path is a right path. Today, Azerbaijan`s economy is a diversified economy. Azerbaijan is today less dependent on the oil and gas factor, and this dependence will be decreased in future. Statistics of our achievements clearly prove it. If we look at just the figures of 2009, we can have kind of example of what we have done over last years.”
“The year 2009 saw world oil prices fall 3 or 4 fold and the economic and financial crisis hit almost all world countries. Despite this, Azerbaijan`s economy grew 9 percent. Sharp decrease in world oil prices has not had its negative impact on Azerbaijan`s development. We implemented all social programs, all infrastructure projects. We mobilized our business potential to have coped with this difficult situation. And even today, in 2010, Azerbaijan`s economy is growing at a rapid pace.”
“Today we are investing not only in our oil and gas sector, but also in tourism, infrastructure, construction of hotels and social facilities. Investments in Azerbaijan`s economy serve the people of Azerbaijan. The more investment is made, the more our economy will grow, the more jobs will be created and the better the people`s welfare will be.”
The President also spoke of future plans to develop the country`s energy sector.
“Recently, we`ve embarked on a huge and important project on the Chirag field. I believe that, very soon, we`ll also kick off Shahdeniz-2 project. I think we have all resources to get it done. Once realized, this project alone will see at least $20 billion invested in Azerbaijan`s oil and gas sector.”
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