Appeal of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the participants of the ceremony held on the occasion of exploitation of the semi-submersible drilling rig "Leader" on July 24, 2003

Distinguished participants of the ceremony! 

Distinguished oilmen! 

Today is a significant day in the oil industry of Azerbaijan. Within the frames of the contract signed between our republic and the leading oil companies of the world which are fulfilled successfully, a new semi-submersible drilling rig is being put into operation, it will ensure the discovery and exploitation of rich oil and gas deposits from the bottom of the Caspian Sea. 

I congratulate sincerely our oilmen, engineers, experts and the delegation of foreign companies who have participated in the construction of this rig on the occasion of this significant event. 

I gave it the name of "Leader". Indeed, this drilling rig is a huge and magnificent installation meeting the recent standards of modern science and technology. The exploitation of this rig which is the biggest and powerful in the Caspian Sea is a new stage in the development of infrastructure of the oil industry. "Leader" is capable of conquering the depth of the Caspian Sea due to its technical indicators. I am sure that this rig will be a real leader going ahead of the rigs of the same type. 

Azerbaijan was the first to begin the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in the Caspian Sea in the history.

After declaration of the new oil strategy by Azerbaijan in 1994 our oilmen obtained modern drilling rigs as "Dede Korkut", "Istiglal" and "Gurtulsh" which are able to work in any depth. It is gladdening that these rigs are working worthily now. 

People working in the offshore deposits are very brave and strong. I wish the people working in the drilling rig "Leader" health and new achievements on behalf of our country. 

Distinguished participants of the ceremony! 

I greet all of you and wish productive work, peace and prosperity to you all. 

Heydar Aliyev, 

The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan 

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, July 25, 2003

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