Speech of Heydar Aliyev , head of the Supreme Soviet, acting President at the meeting with the representatives of oil companies and corporations - August 17, 1993

Dear guests ! Honorable oilmen, scientists and journalists,  I sincerely welcome all of you and wish successes in your works which have  started today and which assume great importance.  This meeting is connected with the problems of the joint developments of the oil deposits in future. As you know, Azerbaijan is an ancient oil country and the oil extraction in Baku began since the previous centuries. If we look into the history we should  proudly say that Azerbaijan was the first  country which explored and exported  oil and oil products to many  countries of the world.  Let me speak briefly about the stages  of development of the oil industry.

Azerbaijan  draw attention  a lot of the  oil  companies of many countries  of the world  immediately  as it began the extraction  and refining of oil. It’s obvious  that the extraction and refining of oil in our country were closely connected with the names of the Azerbaijani  businessmen and foreign companies.  In those  times Baku was known all over the world as an oil town. If we  look at the next period , after 1920, the oil of Baku  had  an important role in the development  of the  former Soviet Union.  You all are aware of the achievement and shortcomings of that period.  Now  we have moved to the third stage of the development of our oil resources.  

If we  look at the period  till 1920, we   will find out that the Azerbaijan oil was explored  and transported  by  the huge companies of foreign countries and the people got very little advantages.

 If we speak about the past 70 years,  our opinions will differ more.  The oil resources  of Azerbaijan provided   the whole Soviet Union and at the same time brought great benefits to the Azerbaijani Republic and its  nation. I think that there is no need to deny and  express  senseless opinions.  Time will solve all the problems.  But it’s obvious  then  Azerbaijan was known all over the world and in the Soviet Unions as an Oil Academy. World famous oilmen, industrial workers, scientists and geologists working in the oil sector have been trained in Azerbaijan. They had worked in various regions of the Soviet Unions and had great role in the exploration, and exploitation and production of oil wells. In those years  we said proudly that our oil scientists and workers worked in all the corners of the Soviet Union, used their experience their knowledge for the exploration of new oil fields and  popularized the Azerbaijani oilmen.

It’s known  all the world that offshore  oil  developments began first by the Azerbaijani oilmen. In 1949  after the oil gusher in Oil Rocks  all the world  used the experience  of offshore oil developments. The activity of our  oilmen never will be forgotten.

It’s  not a secret that in the 1920s-1940s   the Soviet Union improved its industry by using the Azerbaijani oil. In the Second  World War  oil and oil products had a significant role in  strengthening  the military might of the Soviet Union and the share of Baku in it was more than 75 percent. 

 All this are historical truth. But day by day we comprehend it more correctly and appreciate  it exactly.  I repeat once more that if we review the period till 1920, we must say that the foreign countries  produced our oil , in the last 70years our oil was  robbed barbarously,  the local population couldn’t benefit from it, but now  we are in a new stage. We must fairly appreciate these historic periods, derive inferences from them and arrange our work  more efficiently .

With my speech  I do not want to improve oil production or deepen the researches.  I only remind you some moments in order to build our work more efficiently.

 Aother reality is that in the last 60-70 years the oil potentials of Azerbaijan have sufficiently improved.  Oil  industry today has large funds, our scientists, geologists, oilmen have explored new rich  deposits both in sea and on the shore. First of all, the use of this wealth for the sake of population, social -economic development of the country is the main factor. 

The oil deposits are our our underground wealth. As I said, the oil fields of Azerbaijan are being developed over a century. But there are a lot of oil under ground yet, it’s the sacred duty of  the present  and future generations to use them efficiently . Our oil resources must be used for the development of the independent Azerbaijan for improving the social-economic  life of the people, the welfare of citizens. It’s my duty to express these opinions here today.  If we  step to the more benefitly  exploration   of the  oil fields, we must  carefully plan our  work.  We must use the wealth God has endowed to us. 

Undoubtedly,  the interests of the oil companies of foreign countries must be taken into account. 

 To speak frankly, the position of Azerbaijan must be absolutely clear, both parties must benefit from it.  First of all we should take into account the interest of our state and nation, at the same time  the economic interests of foreign companies, there must be a mutual understanding.

Recently, such ideas was appeared  in papers, in speeches of various people that during many centuries the wealth of this country were destructed  cruelly  and barbarously. Probably, such incidents had taken place, but  now we don’t   allow it.  I regret that the oil industry of Azerbaijan was under the control of  unprofessionals who were not responsible and  made mistakes in signing some contracts.

Just because of it we decided to stop the signature of several contracts which were on the eve of conclusion. It doesn\'t’ mean that we want clearly  analyse this issue. I say once more, we want to explore the oilfields for the  development of the nation. We have no other  aim and must not be.  After our resolution on June 24  various articles in foreign press, complaints of  different companies are not clear to us.  We tried to comment all of them and I hope that we can remove the misunderstanding.

 Now we start  the new step of this issue. We have a very important task. I regret that oil and gas production has reduced. This has its reason.  But the main reason is the careless organization of work,  insufficient attention to the oil industry, unefficient use of the potentials. Now  Azerbaijan produces 10 million ton of oil, 6 billion cubic meters of gases. I have learned that 20 huge oil deposits were explored by the joint activity of the oilmen, geologists, scholars, scientific institutions. These deposits have rich potentials. If they have been efficiently used, oil and gas exploration  would hav not reduced, but grown. 

But recently something undesirable has happened.  I say with responsibility  that this problem is that people with no information about oil, who do not know the  terms of oil, unprofessionals, who spent their times in tea-houses,  shout at meetings and solve the fate of oilfields.  These persons do not know how to produce oil and  improve the oil industry. Oil industry remained uncontrolled.   Our urgent aim is to expand oil  and gas production,  improve oil industry.

Approximately,  in the recent two-three years there has appeared such an idea that our oil reserves are very rich, we shall sign contracts with the foreign companies and that will they assist us to explore, refine, transport  our oil to the world market, and help Azerbaijan out of this hard condition.  Undoubtedly, we do not deny it because it’s one of the ways for the improvement of our oil industry.   But if we reduce the oil exploration daybyday and wait that the oil exploration will increase and we shall  get  money by selling oil as the result of the signed contracts with various companies.  We shall improve our country, but how the life of our people will be during these three years? 

I say to the  representatives of oil industry, scientists, whole the oilmen that our workers in this sphere are known to the whole world by their labour, loyalty.  The coming generation of   oilmen should  advantage from  the historical successes, experience  of these  oilmen and raise oil engineering,   improve oil exploration, increace oil and gas production.  Frankly speaking, today oil has become a means of commerce and they think only their own benefit.  It’s treason to the Azerbaijani nation. We could not bear it.

I see in the hall our honourable scientists, well-known oilmen. Their life is connected with oil industry of the country. We all are witness  of their  life. In the 1950s-1960s, even in the 1970s there was great interest in this sphere by the people and state.  We recalled them with great  honour and pride, they were under great  care. Inexperienced persons can not lead such industry and sphere of science. Just these very people led us to this situation.

All the oilmen,scientists, producers approve my views and agree that now we must efficiently profit  from the potentials of the oil industry.

I note that a new stage has started in our oil  industry.  Approximately, at the  half of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries the Azerbaijani oil fields were explored by the European companies, later this  sector passed under state control and now it is the same. But at the third stage we again contact with the foregin companies and try to develop this sphere.  We must try to make this stage beneficial for Azerbaijan.

Don’t forget that oil is the unfinished wealth of Azerbaijan, but nobody can guarantee that, it can also exhaust. The oil fields also have border. If we don not use it efficiently, the coming generation will not pardon us. The persons who intend to gain more must think deeply.  We must work so that the coming generation also benefits from this oil.

When we sign contracts with the foreign companies in the new era, we must not forget this point. The interest of various persons in this process  is a great damage to the Azerbaijani nation, its economy, national  might, statehood. We cannot let it, be sure that it\'s my position after taking my present post, I cannot let it.

Azerbaijan has rich offshore oil deposits as: “Azeri”, “28 May” and so on.  All of these oilfields were explored by the scientists, geologists, oilmen who sit in this hall. Now can we let the businessmen to benefit from the results of the labor of our oilmen?  I will never allow it. In the 70s there great attention was paid to these sphere. At the end of the 70s after exploring the oil wells in the depth of the Caspian Sea we started to extract and transport oil.

Surely, most of these people do not know that the construction of this plant in Azerbaijan was not easy. Because, our country was included into the agriculute potencial to USSR, our activity was not free. But I tell you that after our systematic and consistent measures they decided to construct this plant in Azerbaijan.  There were not necessary inventories  for the construction of the factory in the Soviet Union.

The USSR spent  400 million dollars for   buying equipments. The  equipment and technologies were bought from the United States of America.  They informed me that the problem of construction of deep water foundations and using them have remained outside of the construction of the plant.

The contracts must be developed very attentivly  and correctly. Nobody must try to deceive the other, each one protects his interest. The mutual  terms, economic relations must be on the highest level. I hope that the members of the foreign countries will correctly comprehend my speech.  I repeat once more that I positively appreciate the joint exploration of the oil fields, rich resources of Azerbaijan . But these relations and agreements must be carefully and wisely done.  We’ll provide these points of the agreements and I guarantee you on behalf of the Azerbaijani government. 

At the same time I note that if the oil companies of the great contries are interested in the Azerbaijani oilfields,  then they should be interested in the   social-political life of the country,too.   I suppose that most of the oil companies are closely connected with their ruling circles.  Their activity in our country promises the improvement of their attitude  to our country. 

Delivering my speech I want to  add that the independent Republic of Azerbaijan will continue to establish beneficial relations with all countries. Hence,  Azerbaijan will develop  as a democratic republic, civil country.  All the legal norms, international laws will be applied in Azerbaijan. The human rights will be protected  in future, too, we shall pay great attention to these issues. Believe  that nobody can prevent the development of Azerbaijan.   Azerbaijan has joined the union of democratic states of the world  and will develop  on the bases of political pluralism and human rights. 

I hope that these will be the main points in the establishment of relations of oil companies of Azerbaijan with the foreign oil companies.

We support the expansion of economic relations with the foreign countries presented here and will assist to this process. We’ll assist to the proper examination of these issues.

I wish all of you successes in your works and am sure that the relations of the oil company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR)with the foreign companies will be improved faithfully .