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AZERBAIJAN


  
  

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2002 2001 2000 Ranking(2002)
GDP
Millions of US $ 6,090 5,600 5,300 102
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 710 650 600 145
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Azerbaijan

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km)
86,600

Population
7,830,764

Principal ethnic
groups
Azeri 90%
Russian 2.5%
Armenian 2%
Dagestani 3.2%
other 2.3

Capital
Baku

Currency
Azeri Manat

President
Ilham Aliyev
 

 

Update No: 286- (28/10/04)

Azeri, Georgian sections of BTC pipeline joined on October 16 
The most important venture by far for the Azeris is the pipeline to take its Caspian Sea oil to world markets across Georgia and Turkey. The ceremony of joining the Azerbaijani and Georgian sections of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline was held at the Boyuk-kasik station on the Azerbaijani-Georgian border on October 16. 
The event was attended by Azerbaijani and Georgian presidents Ilham Aliyev and Mikhail Saakashvili, Presidents of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), CCIC, Georgian International Oil Company and SPI-Petrofac. 
BP, the leader of the AIOC, is to help ensure the Georgian stretch of the pipeline, its weakest link, by extending $60m to Tbilisi over a number of years to guarantee security.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev awarded order of "Star of Romania" 
Aliyev is rapidly acquiring the same passion for self-aggrandizement that characterised his father, Haidar. These post-Soviet potentates have a glaring lack of legitimacy. They rig their elections, as everyone knows, and preside over deeply unpopular corrupt and repressive regimes. Massive cults of personality are built up to fill the void of ideas or genuine endorsement by the population.
On October11th on a state visit to Bucharest Aliyev was awarded the Order of "Star of Romania". During the ceremony held on this occasion, Romanian President Ion Iliescu read out the corresponding Decree. It says: President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev is awarded the high State Prize of Romania, the Order of "Star of Romania" for his great contributions to development of Romania-Azerbaijan relations. Then. Iliescu conferred the Order of "Star of Romania" upon President Ilham Aliyev. 
After that, the Decree of the President of Azerbaijan Republic on conferring the Order "Istiglal" upon President of Romania Ion Iliescu was read out. 
Then Aliyev conferred the "Istiglal" Order upon President Ion Iliescu.
A more preposterous ceremony it would be hard to imagine.

What the Romanians want out of Azerbijan is of course oil: hence the flummery 
They are not the only ones. The Japanese, Bulgarians, Finns and others have been engaging in intense diplomatic activity with the Azeris of late with this in mind. With the price of Brent crude above $50 per barrel for the first time and the Middle East in turmoil, Azerbaijan and its dictatorial regime look like an attractive alternative. 

Aliyev received EC delegation headed by Romano Prodi 
The EU as a whole is in the same boat here. The EU is going to be highly indulgent of the regime, as is the US, not raising contentious human rights matters, at least in public.
When Aliyev received the delegation led by President of the European Commission Romano Prodi at the President Palace on September 17th there were beams all round. Greeting the guest, the head of Azerbaijan state recalled his meeting with Prodi in Belgium telling it was very useful. The Azerbaijan-European Union relations develop successfully, President of Azerbaijan underlined. "Our country attaches great importance to development of these relations", he said. Aliyev stated that "the relations with the European Union are one of the priorities of our state policy and we reach new accomplishments in this field." 
Noting that the "New Policy of Neighbourhood" is very important, President Ilham Aliyev underlined that this policy is one of the priorities in the relations of Azerbaijan and the European Union. Aliyev stated that appointment of the European Union representative on South Caucasus serves the development of these relations. 
Noting that there is successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and European Union in the field of economy, in particular, in the power field, President Ilham Aliyev said that there is a high level dialogue in the political field. 
Expressing gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev for his warm reception, Mr. Prodi said that he was pleased with the visit. Noting that cooperation in the political, economic and other fields is an integral part of the new policy of neighbourhood he noted that realization of this policy is of great significance from the viewpoint of strengthening of cooperation and solution of the facing problems. "There are important tasks before the European Union for implementation of this policy and the EU holds a fair position in regard with the policy of neighbourhood", he said. 
Mr. Romano Prodi said that quick resolution of the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorny Karabakh conflict is necessary for successful realization of the New Policy of Neighbourhood. "The European Union with its 500 million population assigns great importance on expansion of cooperation between the EU and Azerbaijan that plays is significant role in the region", he stressed. He expressed confidence that these relations would develop further. 

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ENERGY

SOCAR lowers oil exports, shifts to AIOC

Azeri state oil company SOCAR is expected to export 2.427 million tonnes of oil through the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline this year, not 2.56 million tonnes as earlier planned, a company source said, Interfax News Agency reported.
The share of export by Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) is sure to increase as a result of the drop in SOCAR exports, he said.
SOCAR exported 1.6 million tonnes through the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline in the first eight months of this year. It exported 2.493 million tonnes in 2003. Azerbaijan exports oil to world markets through the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline used by SOCAR and the Baku-Supsa pipeline used by AIOC. When the Baku-Supsa pipeline is shut down AIOC uses the Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline.
The Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline was supposed to export 2.642 million tonnes of oil this year, including 2.56 million tonnes for SOCAR and just over 80,000 tonnes for AIOC, which the company was unable to export through the Baku-Supsa pipeline since production at Chirag was suspended in July while work was performed to connect infrastructure to the Central Azeri platform. The work resulted in a shutdown in oil transport through the Baku-Supsa pipeline.
AIOC asked to increase its share in oil exports to make up the difference, so the adjustment in SOCAR exports was made, he said. AIOC has already shipped 135,000 tonnes of oil this year. It plans to ship 80,000 tonnes to Novorossiisk in November. SOCAR said the company would export 2.5 million tonnes of oil next year. "But we don't know yet what route will be used since the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline will be opened," he said.

Azeri oil major gets associated gas pipeline

The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC) has finished testing a new gas pipeline and is ready to transfer it to SOCAR's [State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic] ownership, Bilik Dunyasi News Agency reported.
The construction of the pipeline for SOCAR was successfully completed in early September, then tests were carried out and the AIOC kept all its commitments to the Azerbaijani side within the framework of the project, the AIOC said.
The pipeline, which was designed by the US company Halliburton and the Azerbaijani institute Gipromorneftegaz [designing offshore oil and gas production projects], has been constructed by the Azerbaijani-Turkish joint venture Azfen/Tekfen.
Azerbaijan needs the pipeline to collect associated gas which is being produced together with oil within the framework of the Azari-Ciraq-Gunasli project. The pipeline is 5.5km long and has a capacity of 20-25 cu.m. of gas a day.
In line with the contract signed between the AIOC and SOCAR in 1994, the AIOC is giving all associated gas produced at Azari-Ciraq-Gunasli to SOCAR free of charge. The only exception is the gas which the AIOC needs for its own oil and gas operations. The cost of the project is over US$13m.

Bulgaria planning to join project carrying Azeri oil to European markets

Bulgaria is planning to join a project for transporting the Caspian oil to Europe. This is all about building one of the branches of the oil pipeline to Europe via Bulgaria. This topic has been discussed during Azerbaijani Speaker, Murtuz Alasgarov's, visit to Sofia, Turan News Agency reported.
Our agency has learnt from sources in Sofia that this issue is on the agenda of Bulgarian President, Georgi Purvanov's, visit to Baku.
The topic was also debated between Murtuz Alasgarov and his Bulgarian counterpart, Ognyan Gerdzhikov. The Bulgarian speaker also embraced the expansion of bilateral cooperation, including the intensification of transport cooperation both at bilateral level and within the framework of TRACECA [Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia]. 

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FOREIGN ECONOMIC RELATIONS

Azeri-US economic body pleased with ties

The 8th meeting of the US-Azerbaijani working group on economic cooperation held in Washington has expressed satisfaction with the level of economic cooperation between the two states. An Azerbaijani delegation led by Finance Minister, Avaz Alakbarov, attended the meeting.
The sides exchanged views on a wide range of issues of economic cooperation between the two countries. They focused on the development of the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan and US assistance to this sphere during the meeting. The sides noted that reforms in the agriculture and bank sectors, the application of the law on corruption and the maintenance of budget transparency will step up the fight against poverty and boost economic development in the country. The working group also discussed the administration of the State Oil Fund [of the Azerbaijani Republic], US agencies' assistance to this body and the activity of the Azerbaijani Ministry for Economic Development.
Avaz Alakbarov and the US co-chairman of the working group, Tom Adams, advanced specific proposals on the issues included in the agenda. The co-chairmen of the working group expressed their satisfaction with the level of economic cooperation between our countries. They said that they would double their efforts to create a democratic market economy in Azerbaijan.
Finance Minister, Avaz Alakbarov, had numerous meetings with representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund within the framework of his visit to Washington. The talks focused on Azerbaijan's current joint projects with these financial institutions and prospects for cooperation.

Azeri minister in Italy discussing development of cooperation

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, recently paid an official visit to Italy, where he met representatives of the authorities and the Venice Chamber of Commerce. The meetings discussed the current stage and prospects of developing cooperation between Italy and Azerbaijan, integration into Europe and Armenia's resettlement of its residents in the occupied territory of Azerbaijan.
Also, Mammadyarov spoke about the social-political processes, reforms carried out in Azerbaijan and the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagornyy Karabakh conflict at a business forum. Answering questions from business people, the minister told the forum, which was attended by representatives of about 60 companies, that favourable investment conditions had been created in Azerbaijan.

Azeri leaders, Finnish minister set to expand ties

Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, received Finnish Foreign Minister, Erkki Tuomioja, on 4th October. Aliyev said that relations between the two countries had been dynamically developing at a bilateral level as well as within the framework of international organizations, Assa-Irada reported.
Speaking about Azerbaijan's active involvement in the EU's New Neighbourhood policy, Aliyev pointed out the EU's increased interest in the region, including Azerbaijan. 
Recalling his visit to Baku six years ago within an official delegation, Tuomioja said that Azerbaijan had made remarkable progress, adding that he had never seen so many changes within such a short time. Tuomioja went on to say that there are great prospects for cooperation between the countries and expressed the hope that the sides would do their best to develop relations in the future. Both Finland and the EU hope that the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict will soon be settled peacefully, he said. 
Azerbaijani Prime Minister, Artur Rasizada, also met the Finnish delegation. Noting that economic relations with Finland were not at a high level, Rasizada pointed to Azerbaijan's interest in Finland's experience in developing the non-oil sector. 
For his part, Tuomioja said that Finland was interested in expanding cooperation with Azerbaijan in various fields, including information technologies and communications. He said that an agreement had been reached during the talks regarding a visit of a delegation of Finnish businessmen to Baku to investigate the prospects of making investments in Azerbaijan.

Azeri, Saudi energy ministers sign cooperation declaration

Azerbaijan Minister of Fuel and Energy Macid Karimov, who is on a visit to Saudi Arabia, has presented King Fahd Bin-Abd-al-Aziz Al-Sa'ud with a letter from President Ilham Aliyev. According to the Azerbaijani embassy in Saudi Arabia, Macid Karimov also met the Saudi minister of oil and mineral resources, the minister of commerce and industry and the minister of water and electricity, Assa-Irada reported.
At the end of the meeting which discussed issues of mutual interest, Karimov signed a joint declaration with the Saudi minister of oil and mineral resources. The declaration reflects issues of developing relations in the oil and gas sphere, conducting joint research and exploration, exchanging experts with the aim of using scientific and technical experience, training personnel, inviting experts to conferences and forums, etc.

Azeri, Romanian leaders hold cooperation talks in Bucharest

Talks were held in Bucharest recently between Romania and Azerbaijan at the highest level, including a tete-a-tete meeting between the Azerbaijani and Romanian presidents, Ilham Aliyev and Ion Iliescu, Turan News Agency reported.
The sides discussed prospects for the development of Azerbaijani-Romanian ties in the political and economic fields, as well as cooperation within international organizations.
Commenting on the talks held, Iliescu noted the importance of maintaining and expanding the current "high" level of cooperation. He particularly noted cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the TRACECA [Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia] programme. Iliescu also said that Europe was interested in the implementation of regional projects in the South Caucasus.
As a result of the talks, 11 agreements were signed, including on cooperation in the field of customs, justice and special services, as well as a joint declaration.

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