Books on Azerbaijan
Update No: 312- (20/12/06)
Another disaster in the offing
The world has enough dreadful conflicts on its plate, which it has never worked
out a satisfactory way to deal with. Another, or rather a revenant, one is
brewing. It is in the benighted Caucasus, between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The Azeris are enjoying a colossal economic boom on the back of sky-high oil
prices and an abundance of the same.
The figures given out for GDP growth beggar belief. It will be in the order of
34% this year after 26% last year.
The proceeds to the national treasury are colossal. The president, Ilham Aliyev,
has an inveterate idea of what to do with them - build up a vast army to avenge
the defeat of 1992 and retrieve the 20% of Azeri territory in Armenian hands,
allowing one million or more refugees to return home.
He is doing exactly what any other leader of his country would do. The situation
dictates a military response. But he is not reckoning with the Machiavellian
leaders of Russia.
The Moscow factor
There is nothing that the Kremlin would like better than another showdown
between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in which they would make quite sure the former
It would in all likelihood disrupt oil supplies from the Caspian Sea to the
West, boosting global oil prices, and revenging themselves on the renegade
former Soviet states trying to escape their yoke :Georgia, Azerbaijan and
President Aliyev likes to point out that Azerbaijan has a military budget larger
than the entire budget of Armenia. But he forgets that the Russians have a
military budget larger than the entire GDP of Azerbaijan. That is the real
Nevertheless, the militarization of Azerbaijan goes on, as the following
Vahid Aliyev: Those who treat Azerbaijan's steps for release of lands as
militarization are wrong
"The formation of the professional army will be realized step-by-step. The
work concerning it has already begun in the Border Troops and other units and in
the Defence Ministry, as well," President's councillor on military and
security affairs lieutenant-general Vahid Aliyev told the APA.
Noting that Azerbaijan is at war at the moment, Vahid Aliyev does not consider
right to transfer all Armed Forces to professional staff completely. He said
that under President's commission opportunities of Naval Forces and Coastal
Security increase, material and technical base of these bodies strengthen.
"The US plays great role in the modernization of Azerbaijan's Naval
Vahid Aliyev did not rule out the facts of corruption in Armed Forces and
problems in the military units.
"Shortcomings are found everywhere. The Supreme Commander-in-Chief
regularly gives commissions to remove these shortcomings," he said.
Vahid Aliyev expressed his position on the protests of international
organizations and foreign states concerning the increase of military expenses.
"Double standards exist in the world. Those who treat Azerbaijan's steps
for release of the lands as militarization are wrong. According to international
juridical norms we have the right to release our lands. Our Armed Forces are
being prepared for this," he said.
SOCAR, McDermott sign contract for underwater gas pipelines
Azeri state oil company SOCAR has signed a contract with McDermott Caspian
Contractors (a subsidiary of C.Rey McDermott S.A) for the construction of new
underwater gas pipelines connecting the Gunashli and Neftyaniye Kamni fields,
according to information on the SOCAR website.
"SOCAR President, Rovnag Abdullaev, met with C.Rey McDermott S.A.
President, Robert Dison, after which the contract was signed. The SOCAR
president expressed his satisfaction with cooperation with McDermott and noted
that this is the first contract of its type that has been awarded to a foreign
company. In turn, the McDemott chief said that his company is interested in
developing cooperation with SOCAR further," the statement said. According
to the conditions of the contract, McDermott Caspian Contractors is to build a
10-inch low-pressure gas pipeline stretching 18.4 kilometres, which will connect
platform number four at the Gunashli field with a gas compressor station at the
Neftyaniye Kamni field. In addition, McDermott will lay a 24.5-kilometre 20-inch
high-pressure gas pipeline at a depth of up to 123 metres from platform No. 14
at the Gunashli field to a gas collector at the Neftyaniye Kamni field. The
contract also covers the installation of a section of pipes to strengthen the
pipeline and the installation of standpipes, in addition to testing work. The
development of the shallow-water section of the Gunashli field has been underway
SOCAR calls first 2007 Azeri light tender
Azeri state oil company SOCAR has called a tender for the next year's first
consignment of Azeri Light crude oil produced at Azerbaijan's Azeri-
Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) fields, a source at SOCAR said, Interfax News Agency
The consignment of 600,000 barrels will be shipped from the port of Batumi on
SOCAR has a 10 per cent interest in the ACG project. Profitable oil is
distributed among shareholders in proportion to their participation in the
project. Participants in the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli contract currently include
British Petroleum - 34.1367 per cent, the US companies Unocal - 10.2814 per
cent, ExxonMobil - 8.0006 per cent, Devon Energy - 5.6262 per cent, and Amerada
Hess - 2.7 per cent, Japan's INPEX Corp - 10 per cent and ITOCHU Oil - 3.9205
per cent, Norway's Statoil - 8.5633 per cent, and Turkey's TPAO - 6.75 per cent.
SOCAR exported 2.753 million tonnes of oil products in January-November 2006, up
37.8 per cent on the same period of 2005, SOCAR said.
SOCAR exported 1.28 million tonnes of diesel fuel, 311,485 tonnes of gasoline,
203,881 tonnes of aviation fuel, 29,965 tonnes of virgin gasoline, 870,421
tonnes of fuel oil, 16,66462 tonnes of bitumen and 40,434 tonnes of lubricants.
SOCAR exported 249,358 tonnes of oil products in November.
There are two oil refineries in Azerbaijan - Azerneftyag and Heydar Aliev Baku
Oil Refinery - with the capacity to produce 22 million tonnes of oil products
Oil production grows 47% to over 26m tonnes
Oil production in Azerbaijan grew 47 per cent to over 26 million tonnes in
January-October 2006, a source at the State Statistics Committee said, Interfax
News Agency reported on November 20th.
The Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), which is developing the
Azeri-Chirag-Gyuneshli blocs, produced 18.5 million tonnes of oil, which
exceeded by 80.9 per cent last year's output. Azerbaijan produced 5.53 billion
cubic metres of gas, a 20.2 per cent rise, the source said. A higher AIOC
production of casing-head gas was the main reason behind the surge. The company
produced 1.97 billion cubic metres of gas, which was 80.9 per cent higher than
in January-October 2005.
Kazakstan, Azerbaijan partner up to supply oil and gas to Europe
English scholar, Sir Halford John Mackinder, once said: "Who rules East
Europe commands the Heartland; who rules the Heartland commands the World
Island; who rules the World Island commands the World."
Today Kazakstan and Azerbaijan are regarded by the world as an inseparable
partnership. The oil and gas the two countries are rich in, as well as the
countries' excellent location in the Caspian region, attract everybody's
attention, New Europe reports.
Azerbaijan's and Kazakstan's estimated oil reserves are 36 to 45 billion barrels
and 102 to 104 billion barrels, respectively, and their estimated gas reserves
are 46 trillion cubic metres and 141 to 171 trillion cubic metres, respectively.
Over the last year, Europe has focused its attention on Azerbaijan and Kazakstan,
energy security being its top priority. The EU countries are looking for new
energy sources and energy supply routes. Europe is looking at Kazakstan's oil
supplies through Azerbaijan as an alternative to Russian imports.
A considerable number of European and American companies are doing business in
Kazakstan and Azerbaijan. "The importance of Kazakstan and Azerbaijan in
global energy security and in the development of the transport potential of the
entire Eurasian region is growing each year," Kazak Foreign Minister,
Kasymzhomart Tokaev, noted. This is the underlying idea behind today's
cooperation between the two countries.
Kazakstan and Azerbaijan can realise their energy and transit potential through
the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline launched last summer, referred to as
a bridge connecting Kazakstan and Azerbaijan to the West. A month before the
official launching ceremony, the heads of the two states signed an accession
agreement for Kazakstan to join the pipeline. And in October this year, Azeri
President, Ilkham Aliyev, signed a law essentially opening the new pipeline to
Kazak oil. Initially, seven to 13 million tonnes of oil per year will be
delivered to Baku by tankers. With the beginning of commercial development of
the Kashagan shelf field, annual oil supplies from Kazakstan will grow to 25
million tonnes. This will be possible thanks to a new pipe from Aktau to Baku
that is planned to be laid on the bottom of the Caspian Sea.
"The new law on transportation of the Kazak oil by the BTC will undoubtedly
facilitate the growth of goods turnover between our countries," Ambassador
of Azerbaijan to Kazakstan, Lyatif Gandilov, told New Europe in Astana in an
After Kazakstan's official accession to the BTC, all the statements that
Azerbaijan could fill the pipe on its own are history. In May this year, at a
press conference during a regular CICA meeting, Aliyev said the BTC was meant
solely for the Azeri oil. At the same time, the Azerbaijan ambassador told New
Europe, new and promising oil fields had recently been found in the Azeri sector
of the Caspian Sea.
Apart from oil, Europe is also very interested in the gas of the Caspian region.
During the now more frequent visits of high-ranking EU officials to Kazakstan,
the idea of building a new trans-Caspian pipeline is discussed more often. The
gas pipe will cross five countries, including Kazakstan and Azerbaijan. Even as
an idea, this project is believed to be a most ambitious one. Its planned
throughput capacity is 32 billion cubic metres per year, and its estimated cost
is US$two billion. This idea is likely to become the focal point of discussion
at an international energy forum scheduled to be held in Astana in late
November. According to the Azerbaijan ambassador, the former head of the
national oil company, and current Azerbaijan Energy Minister, Natik Aliev, is
planning to participate in the forum.
Azerbaijan-Kazakstan cooperation is not limited to energy. "We have more
than enough opportunities for our cooperation, and cannot list them all. The
future of this cooperation will be discussed at the fifth session of the
Intergovernmental Kazakstan - Azerbaijan Committee, which should take place
early next year in Astana," Gandilov said. He also added that the Foreign
Minister of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mamediarov was expected to pay an official visit
to Astana early in 2007.
The three meetings will discuss the existing and new joint Kazak-Azeri projects,
the success of which will strengthen the role of the Caspian tandem -- Kazakstan-Azerbaijan
-- in Eurasia.
FOOD & DRINK
ADA-Azerbaijan to invest US$65m in supermarket chain
ADA-Azerbaijan is planning to invest more than US$65 million in the development
of a chain of supermarkets in Azerbaijan before the end of 2008, the company
said, Interfax News Agency reported.
The ADA group's strategic development plan envisions the opening of at least 50
self-service supermarkets under the brand Almala, which offers products produced
by Russian and Azerbaijani producers before the end of 2008, in addition to the
construction of a distribution centre to support the chain's growth.
A representative of ADA said the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the
World Bank's investment arm, would provide some US$18 million in financing for
the project. IFC experts will also assist the company with their experience in
corporate management in issues such as insurance and environmental control.
ADA-Azerbaijan was founded in September 2005 by a group of Russian investors and
Azerbaijani managers with the goal of setting up a modern chain of supermarkets
in Baku. The group includes ADA-Tidzharet (trade operations), ADA-Nagliiet
(transportation) and ADA-Mulkiyet (real estate management).