From talk of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ‎meeting with the president of AIOC and BP Azerbaijan David Woodward - ‎December 19, 2001 ‎

... David Woodward: Mr. President, thank you very much, everything is ok and how are you?

Heydar Aliyev: I am very well too. I know recently you have done much work in some directions. I understand that you are very busy with the projects of "Baku-Ceyhan" and "Shahdaniz-Erzurum" gas pipeline. You do work connected with the Phase 1. There are a lot of things to do. I am very satisfied. I am informed that your works are normal. Possibly you will inform me too. We can talk about the issues which need to be solved. Please.

David Woodward: Mr. President, let me to thank you again for receiving us today. I want to say that you are very interested in our activity in Azerbaijan.

Mr. President, it is the end of the year. It would be very good if we reconsider the good works in the framework of BP and Azerbaijan International Operating Company.

Mr. President, first I want to inform you about the platform "Chirag". This year, our production was more than we expected from "Chirag". Now, in the end of the year, we can say you that the production of this year will reach 6 million.

Heydar Aliyev: 6 million tons...
David Woodward: Mr. President, at the moment we drill A-16 oil wells in "Chirag". It is a very rare oil well. This oil well drilled by a slanting drill, will let us to depart from the platform for 5 km.

Heydar Aliyev: We had such a drilling long ago. This is slanting drill. Our oilmen used this method 30 years ago.

David Woodward: Mr. President, we are aware of it. Moving forward this technology, we have gained opportunity to get beyond the platform maximally. This, 5 km distance is a record for the Caspian Sea.

Heydar Aliyev: Very fine.

David Woodward: Mr. President, you reminded some of our big projects in Azerbaijan. Presently we work seriously on the project of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan. We do thorough engineering works in the framework of this project. It is the 6th month of our thorough engineering works. Successful course of the works show that we shall be able to start the construction of the "Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan" oil pipeline. At the moment we are busy to choose the construction corridor in the framework of the thorough engineering works of the "Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan" project. We have stretched the construction work until 100 m. It is a great achievement. 100 meter width of construction corridor has already been chosen in the territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. We shall pass to the purchase of land in every three countries after then. Purchase of land will begin after the start of the construction phase. We shall discuss the issues of financing the "Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan" project in several months. During this period we shall discuss the issue with the international financial bodies and loaning companies. Mr. President, you talked about "Shahdeniz". We have achieved much in this sphere. We feel full support of yours, the Azerbaijani government, State Oil Company and other agencies.

I met the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze on Monday of this week. Mr. Shevardnadze also confirmed his commitment to "Shahdeniz" project and once more expressed his support to this project. In my meetings in Georgia, I was told that the Georgian parliament shall ratify the intergovernmental agreement which you signed and the agreements with the transit countries. Although there are a number of trade, commercial and technical works in the framework of the "Shahdeniz" project. I hope that we shall be able to start the construction works in the framework of "Shahdeniz" project in the coming year.

Mr. President, with your participation, we adopted a resolution at the end of August on the first Phase of full scale development of the deposits of "Azeri", "Chirag" and "Gunashli". We signed agreements with six big international contractors in November for the construction in the stage of Phase-1. They are due to begin the construction works in Azerbaijan for Phase-1. For this purpose, they do much in "Shelfprojectconstruction". They will work much for the modernization of a pipe laying ship of Azerbaijan and other crane-drainage ships.

We shall start the clearance of the land for the future enlargement works in "Sangachal" terminal from January. The contractor companies chosen by us have already begun to recruit the Azerbaijani citizens for their construction works here. This work goes on. They will hire professionals. Three thousands of Azerbaijanis will be hired at the peak of the construction works.

Heydar Aliyev: Additional, new workers?

David Woodward: Yes additional new workers.

Presently "Dede-Korgut" semi-submarine drilling rig is on the shore undergoing modernized. We expect these works to be finished in May. In March it will start drilling oil well for Phase-1 in "Azeri" deposit.

In general, we had a lot to do this year, and it was a tense year. But it was also a successful year. Gaining these successes, we look forward with hope. We believe that with these successes we shall be able to move forward big projects in the coming year. We highly appreciate the support of SOCAR and foreign investment department of this company.

Mr. President, taking this opportunity, I wish happy a New Year to you, to he people of Azerbaijan and organizations working with us.

Heydar Aliyev: Thank you for informing me. Naturally, I permanently observe your works. The administration of SOCAR and my assistant Ali Asadov informs me as well. But I am also satisfied with your information about your future works and the works which you have already done. I have always believed that the work which we started in 1994 will move ahead successfully year by year. All that you said today prove that it will live up to my expectations.

You know that everything that you do is of great importance for our nation, personally for me, President of Azerbaijan. That is why I pay great attention to all this and consider it as my task. Foreign companies, including BP and others, naturally work for your interest here. But for us, it is important to develop the economy of Azerbaijan, improve the welfare of the people and develop oil and gas sector of industry. That is why, you can be confident that I will support you in these issues as I have done so far. Indeed, I want these works to be done more quickly. Because I want results in a shorter period. But at the same time I know that you implement your programs very quickly. It cannot be done quicker. That is why, I accept your information with pleasure. I am satisfied with your plans. I will support you further as I did in the past, and we shall implement these programs together.

Naturally, the start of the construction of "Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan" oil pipeline will be a great event for me, for the Azerbaijani nation and our society. Along with it, start of the construction of Shahdeniz-Erzurum gas pipeline from Shahdeniz will also be a great event. I take into consideration your information concerning the start of the construction work. I hope you will begin your work in this period. I wish you successes at your work. 

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