Books on Azerbaijan
Update No: 306- (29/06/06)
Hopes for a deal fade
Although international mediators insist a breakthrough remains possible this
year, Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to have lost the last realistic chance for a
near-term deal to end the bitter conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. A face-to-face
meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents on June 4th-5th again failed
to make any headway toward a settlement. Observers see little prospect of that
happening before national elections scheduled to take place in both south
Caucasus states in 2007 and 2008.
Armenian Presidents, Robert Kocharian, and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham
Aliyev, held two days of intensive negotiations for a second time in less than
four months on the sidelines of a high-level forum of Black Sea nations in
Romania. American, French and Russian diplomats spearheading the Karabakh peace
process aimed to use the meeting to finalize a framework agreement. But
Kocharian and Aliyev apparently refused to budge from their respective
negotiating stances, despite strong pressure from mediators.
The two leaders have so far declined to publicly comment on their Bucharest
talks, leaving it to their foreign ministers to acknowledge that the talks ended
in failure. Armenia's Vartan Oskanian told state television on June 6th,
"They did not succeed in registering progress and giving a new impetus to
resolving the Karabakh conflict." The same day, Azerbaijani Foreign
Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, told reporters in Baku: "I can't assert that
we have a major movement forward in the negotiating process."
Reasons for mutual stubbornness
Kocharian wants to leave a consistent record of defending the gains of Kharabak
behind him. He was after all president of the enclave himself at the time and
its leading warlord.
He has made it clear that he is stepping down in 2008 in presidential elections
in the autumn being held after those in Russia in the summer. If Putin is
prepared to go then, abiding by the constitutional precept of only two terms, so
realises Kocharian should he. He does not want to be seen to be at all like
Belarus president, Lukashenka, who changed the constitution to be re-elected
last year for a third term.
Aliyev, who intends to be around a lot longer yet, is convinced that he has time
on his side. Azerbaijan is having a massive oil boom, which is raising its
diplomatic clout by the year.
This is made clear in the following APA report.
Aliyev: "Revenues of Azerbaijan from oil export in next 20 years may
reach US$140 billion"
The inauguration of XIII International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition 2006 was
held on June 14th at the Sport and Concert Complex named after Heydar Aliyev.
Ilham Aliyev, The President of Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza, US Deputy Secretary
for European and Eurasian Affairs, Georgian and Turkish officials, as well as
diplomatic corps representatives and local governmental and state officials,
participated in the event.
Suleyman Tatliyev, Chairman Trade and Industry House of Azerbaijan, stated that
360 companies from 31 countries, as well as more than 100 local companies and
organizations, were participating there. President Ilham Aliyev said in his
speech that interest in the exhibition grows every year. He noted that being an
oil country, Azerbaijan is always at the centre of attention. Mr. Aliyev has
stated that Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan has already started its work and transported oil
to the world market through the Mediterranean Sea, for the first time in
history. "Without US political and moral support, it would have been hard
to realize this project."
The head of Azerbaijani state then talked about continuation of the construction
over Baku-Tbilisi-Arzurum gas pipeline and added that it will be completed by
end year. Saying that there is a huge opportunity for investments in Azerbaijan,
Aliyev underlined stability in the country.
"Azerbaijan is an oil and gas exporting country. Experts say that if a
barrel of oil is sold for 50 dollars in the next 20 years, Azerbaijan will make
US$140 billion revenues," he said.
Aliyev says Azerbaijan to fill BTC on its own
Azerbaijan President, Ilham Aliyev, in a surprising statement at the press
conference after the closing of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation summit
in Baku on May 5th, said that Azerbaijan, considering its own oil production
potential, can fill the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline by 2008. He noted
that there will be no additional volumes from other countries, including
Kazakstan oil, New Europe reported.
"By 2008 Azerbaijan will export 50m tonnes of oil. It is precisely how much
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline can pump today," Aliyec said.
"Azerbaijan has created its transport infrastructure for its own
The Kazak journalists sought clarification from Ilshat Nasyrov, spokesman of
Azerbaijan's state oil company, and, trying to mitigate Aliyev's statement that
Azerbaijan will be able to fill BTC independently, he explained that the
country's self-sufficiency for BTC would exist only at the first stage of the
The pipeline can rely on Azerbaijan oil only until 2008, by which time the local
reserves would start depleting gradually. "And by that time, by 2009-2010,
big oil from Kashagan, Kazakstan, will start coming and then our production fall
curve will coincide with the production growth curve," Nasyrov explained.
But, stating that BTC is filled solely with Azerbaijani oil today, Aliyev said
was somewhat misleading. Kazak oil is already coming to BTC: the three million
tonnes of Tengiz oil that are already delivered to Baku by tankers from Aktau
and the one million tonnes that go directly to Iran.
However, Kazak oil is transferred there under the flag of BT - an English
producer operating in Tengiz and acting as BY+TC operator at the same time. But
in any case, this pipeline will not be able to go on long without Kazakstan oil.
For example, oil from Kashagan will come to Baku in the volume of seven to 13
million tonnes with subsequent growth of supplies to 20 million tonnes.
Additionally, the legal procedures for Kazakstan to join the pipeline are still
to be completed. Kazakstan and Azerbaijan have not signed a pipeline accession
agreement yet, although the negotiations between the two countries have been in
progress for over three years now.
Baku could review its gas export plans
Azerbaijan could adjust its plans to export gas considering the problem with
energy security around the world, Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, said.
"We're thinking about changing our production plans for the Shah-Deniz gas
deposit since gas demand is growing around the world," he said at the 13th
annual oil and gas exhibition in Baku. "Europe is paying closer attention
to energy security. Azerbaijan's weight and importance is growing and the
country could even become a decisive factor in some instances," Interfax
quoted him as saying.
Azerbaijan is working on a project to develop the Shah-Deniz gas deposit and
will soon launch the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline to supply gas to Turkey,
Aliyev said. Large oil and gas contracts have already been signed and are being
implemented in Azerbaijan, but there is still interest in the country, he said.
Azerbaijan has managed to implement large projects in a short period, he said.
The contract of the century was signed in 1994 to develop the
Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli fields, oil started being produced three years later and
there are two successful pipelines today - Baku-Supsa and Baku-Novorossiisk.
Moreover, production has started at the large Azeri field and Azerbaijan has
started building the BTC pipeline.
"Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan is a historical project and the efforts of all
organisations are needed in order to implement the project," Aliyev said.
"I want to especially emphasise the political and moral support of the
United States, without which it would have been very difficult to implement this
project," he said.
Thanks to a successful oil strategy, Azerbaijan is living through a new stage of
development today, Aliyev said. "Investing in Azerbaijan has become
possible thanks to investor confidence in the stability of the country. There
was US$20 billion invested to develop the oil and gas sector which made such big
projects like Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan possible," he said.
"Azerbaijan will see a lot of profit from implementing these
projects," Aliyev said. "Specialists estimate that Azerbaijan's
revenue will be US$140 billion over the next 20 years based on an oil price of
US$50 per barrel. This will allow Azerbaijan to repair its infrastructure,
improve its vital activity and turn Azerbaijan into a strong country,"
US may invest 600m Euro in Azeri petrochemicals
American companies are ready to invest up to 600m Euro in building a large
petrochemical complex in Azerbaijan, Azeri economic development minister, Heidar
Babaev, said recently, Interfax News Agency reported.
"During a visit to the US by Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, at the
end of April, US companies came forward with an initiative to carry out major
investment in the country's petrochemical complex," he said. He also said
that investment in setting up a complex to process oil and gas and produce
chemicals would amount to about 500m Euro-600m Euro.