Speech by Heydar Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the meeting with the members of the Executive Board of the "Contract of Century" and the leadership of the AIOC - Presidential Palace, February 28, 1997

I must say first of all that I am very much pleased to meet you again. Our meeting has already become traditional. I have said before, and I repeat it once more, the work of AIOC is under my constant control. My purpose is to control the work, on one hand, to help the progress of this work, on the other hand.

Mr. Terry Adams, I am very pleased with the information given by you and other members of the leading committee. They show that the contract signed on September 20, 1994, has been implementing into life successfully and consistently. It is necessary to evaluate the works performed in 1994-1995 positively. I am very glad that you have managed to carry out all the intended work and operations. That is very good.

You know that such a case is considered to be a rare case in our past and present practice. Perhaps you work so everywhere, don`t you? If it is not so, then your work is quite rare. It shows that the members of the consortium, especially those of the AIOC, members of the leading committee are worthy, practical people.

I congratulate you on these achievements and express my gratitude to you. Your report that you made today, the performed work, your achievements are a good answer to those who were negatively tuned towards "the Contract of the Century", who did not believe it.

The putting into operation the northern pipeline through the territory of Russia in proper time is a very important thing. After the signature of "the Contract of the Century" some circles in Russia were negatively tuned towards this contract. But we signed a contract on the construction of a pipeline in the northern direction in January 1996, in Moscow, that is to say that, we signed a contract between Russia and Azerbaijan. The Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and I signed the contract. I am very glad that we have done our part of work in time, and that contract is now being implemented into life constructively.

I am very pleased to hear that the pipeline through the territory of Azerbaijan up to the Russian border is not only ready, but also filled with oil.

SOCAR must work seriously with the Russian "Transoil" company. Mr. Terry Adams said here that they will have a meeting in the mid - March. I know it also, it is necessary to hold that meeting and solve the unsettled problems in the Russian territory so that we could export our oil via this pipeline as envisaged by the contract by the end of this year.

The Russian "Transoil" promises to do it by the end of May. We must try that they keep their promise and do the incomplete works by May. I charge SOCAR to deal with the problem successively. If there is any difficulty then tell me and I will settle it with Russian leadership in time.

The information provided by Mr. Terry Adams on drilling of wells, on completion of drilling works in one of them - in "Chirag" oil field, on beginning of drilling the third well, and the fact that they have got even higher indicators than they expected, all these are pleasant.

I hope that you will finish the drilling of the third well successfully. The results of two previous wells highlight that the results of the third one will also be positive, and in this way you will keep your promise to transport the oil from "Chirag" to the terminal in Sangachal by August 28 of this year. I am waiting for this day impatiently, I hope that we will celebrate this day as a remarkable event, I do not doubt that the coated pipes which you demonstrated here will be laid in time and you will finish the construction of the pipeline from the deposit to the Sangachal terminal.

Another thing, which Mr Terry Adams said now and pleases me, is that the companies, enterprises of Azerbaijan take an active in the Contract, they are involved in the realization of the Contract. I am also happy to hear that the companies and enterprises of Azerbaijan perform a high quality work. For instance, you said, and I repeat it, that coating of pipes in the Zigh plant meets the requirements of world standards. I am glad that other works performed by the enterprises and companies of Azerbaijan also meet the requirements of world standards.

I proceed from your information here, it is one of contributions of "the Contract of Century" to the industry of Azerbaijan, especially to the oil industry.

I am very pleased by diagrams displayed here by Mr. Terry Adams. I hope that the organizations, enterprises and companies of Azerbaijan will be involved in works in the future, too. I think that the local companies will also take an active part in the construction of the Western pipeline. I conveyed this idea to Mr. Terry Adams through Abid Sharifov some time ago. I say it again today and ask to bear it in mind.

Terry Adams: At present proposals on this problem are being considered.

Heydar Aliyev: You must take into consideration the participation of the Azerbaijan companies in it by all means. Today all the information is pleasant. Including the employment of local specialists in AIOC and their number are very positive. I wish their number were more than now. You said that the contract has opened 3000 jobs, that means that 3000 Azerbaijanis have been employed. It is very good. I hope that this figure will grow in future. That means that the Azerbaijani specialists and workers obtain new experience, learn to work according to requirements of AIOC, it is very remarkable. When you said that the local specialists and workers do a high quality work, I was very pleased to hear it. I note it once more; all this is the result of our joint work, the result of implementation of the western technology in Azerbaijan. I take into consideration you information. After your consideration of the main pipeline issue in the late of April after summarizing it, we will discuss it together and take necessary measures for the final decision.

Two years and some month have passed since the signature of the "Contract of Century". Much has been done in this period. We have signed four other contracts. The work of AIOC and its results are a good example and a good experience for the realization of the signed contracts. I suppose that we all try to make a good use of this experience.

AIOC is the standard-bearer, it is in vanguard of all our contracts. You march ahead with the standard high sky. The others, who implement into life the other contract will follow you, use your experience and get good results. I congratulate you once more. You may be sure that I shall do my best for the implementation of these tasks into life.