ANKARA: Russia, Azerbaijan Agree On Oil, Gas Project As Putin Visits


Journal of Turkish Weekly
Aug 14 2013

14 August 2013

The Russian and Azerbaijani state oil companies on Tuesday agreed to
establish a joint venture on a parity basis to prospect and produce
oil and gas in Russia and Azerbaijan and in other countries as Russian
President Vladimir Putin paid a one-day working visit to Baku.

Energy Cooperation

During Putin’s visit – designed to discuss a wide range of
bilateral issues, including trade, energy, transportation and the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – Rosneft reported that it had also agreed
with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) to jointly
use some pipelines and terminals to optimize supplies to consumers.

A cooperation agreement was signed by Rosneft and SOCAR respective
chiefs, Igor Sechin and Rovnag Abdullayev, in the presence of Putin
and Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev. The two oil giants also said they
would cooperate in marketing and sales of oil, gas and oil products.

Rosneft has shown interest in joining the development of the Apsheron
gas field in the Caspian Sea, whereas Russia’s largest privately
held oil company, LUKoil, is participating in the development of
the Shah Deniz gas field in the Caspian Sea and owns a network of
gasoline-filling stations in Azerbaijan.

LUKoil CEO Vagit Alekperov is accompanying Putin on his visit to
Azerbaijan, just as Rosneft chief Sechin is.

Last year, Azerbaijan delivered 1.55 billion cubic meters of natural
gas to Russia.

Bilateral interaction is set to be expanded in the military and
technical sphere, and border activities and between the two countries’
emergencies ministries. Experts polled by RIA Novosti have said Moscow
has yet failed to make Baku its ally rather than partner.

Military and Emergencies Cooperation

Azerbaijani President Aliyev told reporters after a meeting with
Putin that Moscow and Baku planned to continue military and technical

According to Aliyev, his country’s defense industry cooperation with
Russia is worth $4 billion and keeps growing. Azerbaijan is among
the top buyers of Russian arms and other military equipment, which,
Aliyev said, is considered the best in the world.

The two countries’ emergencies ministries signed a cooperation plan
for 2013-2015, and a new program to train Azerbaijani emergencies
staff will soon be worked out, a Russian ministry spokeswoman said.


Putin and Aliyev also touched upon the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been strained for over
two decades, since the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly
ethnic Armenian region, first erupted in 1988. The region then claimed
independence from Azerbaijan to join Armenia.

“During the talks we touched upon urgent international issues,
including, of course, the Nagorno-Karabakh issue,” Putin said. “Russia
has been actively contributing to the soonest settlement of the
conflict, which is only possible through political means.”

Aliyev said the conflict may only be solved on the basis of
international law.

More than 30,000 people are estimated to have died on both sides
between 1988 and 1994, when a ceasefire was agreed. Nagorno-Karabakh
has remained in Armenian control, and tensions between Azerbaijan
and Armenia have persisted.

The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh is mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group,
which comprises the United States, Russia and France.

14 August 2013

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