Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the Great National Meeting of Turkish Republic on the occasion of signing of Ankara declaration - October 29, 1998

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Dear President of Turkish Republic mister Suleyman Demirel!

Dear chairman of the Great National Meeting of Turkish Republic Chairman Hikmet Chetin!

Dear Prime Minister of Turkish Republic mister Mesud Yilmaz!

The president of Georgia mister Edward Shevardnadze!

The president of Kazakhstan mister Nursultan Nazarbayev!

The president of Uzbekistan mister Islam Kerimov!

Minister of Energy of the United States of America mister Bill Richardson!

The declaration signed in Ankara during the celebrations on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Turkish Republic, is of historical value. First of all, it is equitable to the national interests of our countries, our peoples. At the same time, it shows a new stage of cooperation and joint work between our states and the countries.

It is known that the Azerbaijan Republic several years ago started practical work on the development and transportation of energy resources of Caspian Sea to the world markets. On September 20, 1994 with 11 authoritative oil companies of the world united in a consortium, the great contract on oil and gas recovery from deposits of "Azeri", "Chirag" and a deep-water part of deposit of "Guneshli" in Caspian Sea was signed. This contract was called the "Contract of century".

On November 12 last year we marked getting of the initial oil from the oil deposit of "Chirag". At present 10 thousand tons of oil from this deposit is extracted daily processed and transported to the world markets. As a result of conducted works in the near future, the output will increase for 3 times.

While signing this contract in 1994, we made provision for creation of several pipelines for exporting of the Caspian oil to the world markets. One of them is a route Baku-Novorossiysk and the second is Baku - Supsa. For export of initial oil on the Georgian route, but the most important and major oil pipeline is a route of Baku-Ceyhan, as we decided about 4 years from now.

Within the last four years, the contracts with more than 10 international consortiums on many deposits in the Azerbaijan sector of Caspian Sea have been signed and in the future the extraction of the big oil from these oil and gas deposits is expected.

It is known that there are oil deposits in the sectors of Caspian Sea belonging to other littoral states as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia and Iran as well. I note with satisfaction that in these sectors and in particular, in the sector belonging to Kazakhstan, practical works are already conducted.

There are big oil and gas deposits in territory of the countries of the Central Asia, the near-Caspian countries - Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Ways are being explored and studied for the development of these deposits in the future, and exporting of oil and gas to the world markets.

Today all this make it more possible to construct the main oil pipeline Baku-Ceyhan, as we had envisaged in 1994. It is known that in the deposit "Tengiz" of Kazakhstan there are rich oil and gas deposits. The part of oil extracted from there already is exported through the territories of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia to the world markets by the Caspian and Black Seas. I inform that by this way, it has been already transported 2 million 500 thousand tons of the Kazakhstan oil.

In connection with the development of rich oil deposit of "Tengiz" in the future, there arouse a necessity to construct an oil pipeline between the port of Aktau in Kazakhstan and our Baku port. All this evidently testifies to the fact that the main oil pipeline Baku-Ceyhan is very real today. Therefore, the declaration signed today here, in Turkey, in Ankara, is a result of the big work carried out by us within the four years.

To tell the truth, there were also those who opposed the Baku-Ceyhan, and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan routes trying to prevent its realization. Some companies produced financial claims on this route from the commercial point of view. Certainly, it is necessary to take into account commercial interests of these companies. We will also carry on work with these companies in the future. However, I think that the political will of the heads of states participating at the ceremony, lays foundation of realization of this program and the project.

You know that the independent Azerbaijan Republic has laid foundation of these works by the decisions accepted about the joint development of energy resources in the Caspian Sea. I am very glad that work founded four years ago, has received a wide scope today and with a joint desire of all heads of the states participating here has led to adopt the great declaration.

I believe in the great future and success of the oil pipeline of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan. I believe that construction of this oil pipeline and its use in the future will improve relations of friendship, cooperation and brotherhood among our countries even more. At the same time, all this proves how the state independence of our countries is important. Only after getting our state independence, we became the owners of the natural resources, we can use them freely and we can transport the extracted oil to the world markets whenever we want.

Today I congratulate all heads of the states of the friendly countries - Turkey, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, and the United States of America on signing of the declarations. I hope that the work executed by us today will make a big contribution to XXI century, the forthcoming centuries. May it be successful!

Brief essays

Oil and gas pipelines

General historical background