The Azerbaijan Republic President Heydar Aliyev‘s Speech in the opening ceremony of the Fifth International "Caspian Oil & Gas - 98" Exhibition conference. On June 2, 1998

Ladies and gentlemen!

Distinguished guests!

I congratulate you cordially on the occasion of the opening of "Caspian Oil & Gas - 98" exhibition and conference. I wish success to the work of the exhibition and conference.

Numerous companies from many countries of the world have come to participate and demonstrate their work in this exhibition. At the same time, today the Government representatives, the ministers of the countries to which these companies belong have come to Azerbaijan and take part in the opening ceremony of the exhibition. I heartfelt welcome the government representatives, ministers, the chiefs of all companies and all participants of the exhibition which have come to Azerbaijan and I would like to express that I am sure the days spend in Azerbaijan will be very effective for them.

"Caspian Oil & Gas-98" exhibition is the Fifth Exhibition held in the independent Azerbaijan. Such kind of exhibition was held in Azerbaijan for the first time in May 1994. Today we can say confidently that the year it has been laid the most beautiful foundation for such an international exhibition in Azerbaijan. As a result, the international "Caspian oil & Gas" exhibition is already held in fifth year in Baku, Azerbaijan. The road passed within five years and got achievements shows that many countries of the world give particular importance to the development of energy sector of the economy. In this regard, it is shown great interest to the conduct of the exhibition in Baku, Azerbaijan, which is one of the oldest oil centers of the world.

The increase and expansion in the scale of the International "Caspian Oil & Gas" Exhibition from year to year shows that this field is very important for many countries around the world. At the same time it shows that the holding of the exhibition in Azerbaijan is very interesting and important for countries and companies engaged in the world energy sector.

In the International "Caspian Oil & Gas" Exhibition held for the first time in 1994 it had been represented 120 companies, and 250 companies represented last year in 1997. This year 400 companies from the 29 countries are represented in the International "Caspian Oil & Gas-98" Exhibition. It is very interesting and joyful dynamics.  Today I thought about and the organizers of the exhibition also expressed their opinion, may be next year, this building will not be sufficient for the conduct of the exhibition – whether we must build a new building or create new buildings around this building.

In the past five years the regularly holding of the International "Caspian Oil & Gas" Exhibition in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the expansion and development of the exhibition year after year , the increase of the world companies interest engaged in oil, gas and other energy sectors shows that our cooperation is lucky and successful. Five years in a row holding of the International “Caspian Oil & Gas “Exhibition in Azerbaijan and the growth of interest in dealing with countries having energy resources in the world and being engaged in the energy sector shows once again that the capacity of the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan has created very favorable conditions for the functioning of the world companies.

Azerbaijan is an ancient oil land. However, we have never observed dealing with the world's oil and gas production companies to be represented like this in Azerbaijan till last years. These are the result of the state independence of Azerbaijan, as well as the result of policy properly carried out in the condition of the state independence of Azerbaijan Republic. I consider that after being five years old, such an exhibition has already gained the right to permanent residence in Azerbaijan and you can be sure that the government of Azerbaijan also in the coming years will support implementation of the International "Caspian Oil & Gas" Exhibition in our country and it will create all opportunities for this purpose.

The regularly organizing and holding of the International "Caspian Oil & Gas" Exhibition demonstrate the importance of Azerbaijan and generally oil and gas field of the Caspian Basin in Azerbaijan for the world countries and oil and gas companies around the world as well. One of the most important results of the "Caspian Oil & Gas" exhibition is that the Caspian Basin oil and gas fields are fully opened in order to be used by the leading companies of the world in the past years.

It was well known to scholars, experts and research centers around the world that the Caspian Basin has got very rich with oil and gas fields. But the works carried out in Azerbaijan within last years and their introducing to the world community with the help of the international exhibition provided the interest of many countries and companies of the world has to be involved to the Caspian Basin oil and gas fields.

It is known that very efficient measures have been implemented and good results gained for joint using of the oil and gas fields in the Azerbaijan sector of Caspian Sea between world oil companies and the Azerbaijan State Oil Company, the Government of Azerbaijan for the last years.

In September, 1994, Azerbaijan State Oil Company has signed a big contract with the consortium organized by 11 companies of the world. This contract was given the name the "Contract of the Century". Today I announce with pleasure that this contract is implemented in a practical manner, and we have achieved the excellent results. Last year on November 12 we celebrated solemnly the early oil from the "Chirag" oil-field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea.

Bakı - Novorossiysk oil-pipeline was created and has been put into use for exporting of the produced oil to the world markets. Oil is already taken out with the pipe-line to the world market.

Oil wells dug in the "Chirag" oil-field gives 3 times more oil than it was expected. 7 thousand tons of oil is produced there per day. This year, by the end of 1998, more than 2 million tons of oil will be produced. In 1994, when the contract was signed, it had been intended that, from the contract area - "Chirag", "Azeri" fields and from the deeper part of the "Guneshli" field 510 million tons of oil will be extracted. But now it was revealed that 630 million tons of oil will be extracted. I suppose, a year later, our specialists will be able to further increase this number.

So, we are able not only to sign a contract, we are also mighty to implement it successfully.

For the export of the early oil the second oil pipeline - by the route of the Bakı-Supsa is being constructed and I am sure that this pipeline will be put into use at the beginning of 1999.

Since the first contract was signed, in the past period Azerbaijan State Oil Company has signed new contracts with the oil companies all over the world. Now 9 big contracts has been signed concerning to the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian and by these 20 big companies represents 12 countries of the world. All of these prove that the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea will produce more oil, than it was intended, in the future.

All these confirm once more today the necessity of the construction of main oil-pipeline. I consider that till September of the current year the consortium - Azerbaijan International Operation Company together with all companies, must submit proposals on the construction of the main oil-pipeline. There are many suggestions connected with the construction of the main oil-pipeline, many routes are analyzed. But we – the Government of Azerbaijan support Baku-Ceyhan route for the construction of this oil-pipeline.

I would like to inform the exhibition participants that we continue our work in this area, and today Azerbaijan State Oil Company has intended the signing of 3 additional contracts.

Thus, it has already been realized the using of the oil fields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea by Azerbaijan government and state. We are very pleased of our successful cooperation in this field with the big oil companies of the world. All these prove visually that the Caspian Sea basin has much rich oil and gas fields.

All of these prove the necessity and importance of the holding "Caspian Oil & Gas" exhibition in Baku, Azerbaijan.

I am hopeful that the companies represented here, at the time of the exhibition and in the conference held in the framework of the exhibition will exchange very efficient, business ideas, conduct negotiations and will get good opportunities for the preparation and signing of the new agreements and contracts.

Dear participants of the exhibition! I wish all of you very fruitful business and to get good results in your work during the exhibition and conference. I also appreciate highly the work of the company of "Spearhead Exhibitions" and Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and Industry which successfully organized the exhibition.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests, I congratulate you once more on the opening of the exhibition, and I wish all of you health, peace, tranquility and success in your future work.

Translated from "Azerbaijan" newspaper, June 3, 1998