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25.06.2010 11:17

Caspian Oil & Gas: A New Stage of Development

Caspian Oil & Gas 2010, the 17th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference Incorporating Refining & Petrochemicals, opened in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, on 1 June.

Caspian Oil & Gas is the largest oil and gas trade event in the Caspian region.  It unites leading players in the global oil and gas industry, who attend to showcase their products and services, share experiences, and discuss future projects.  The prestige of the event is confirmed by the personal participation of the Head of State in the opening ceremony.  In his welcome to exhibitors at the opening of Caspian & Gas 2010, the President of Azerbaijan, H.E. Ilham Aliyev, said that Azerbaijan will continue to develop oil and gas production to meet domestic demand, and increase the country’s export capacity.  Wishing all the participants of the exhibition and conference success, President Aliyev expressed confidence that the traditional annual Caspian Oil & Gas show would long continue.

Exhibitors and conference delegates were also welcomed by Dr. Carolyn Browne, British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, who read a letter of welcome from the new British Prime Minister David Cameron; Ms. Mariam Valishvili, First Deputy Energy Minister of Georgia, read a letter of welcome from Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili; Mr. Mohammed bin Dha'en Al Hamili, UAE Minister of Energy; Mr. Yusuf Yazar, Turkish Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources; Mr. Richard Morningstar, U.S. Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, who also read a letter of welcome from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and Ms. Elizabeth Valaas, Special Adviser to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on energy in the Caspian region and Central Asia, who spoke on behalf of Norway’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Jonas Gahr Store.

After the welcome speeches, President Aliyev and other official guests took a tour of the exhibition.  Caspian Oil & Gas 2010 was the first exhibition to be held at the new Baku Expo Center. This year, the exhibition brought together 280 companies from 26 countries, increasing the exhibition area by 15% compared with 2009.  Over 40% of the exhibition space was taken up by international companies, most of which are regular participants the event.  They included: Itochu, OMV Gas International GmbH, State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), Statoil, Total, TPAO and many others.  These were joined by national group stands from the UK, China and Russia.  This year, UAE took part with a national group stand for the first time.

On the first day, the exhibition presented new oil and gas production and transportation projects.  At its stand, SOCAR demonstrated the full cycle of oil exploration, production, processing and transportation, which attracted much interest.  Statoil gave a 3D seminar on the development of new fields in the Scandinavian platform.  As 2010 has been declared the ‘Year of the Environment’ in Azerbaijan, the special theme of this year’s exhibition was the alternative energy sector.  There was a lot of interest in different environmental projects, including wind power stations and solar panel production.

The exhibition was accompanied by a wide-ranging business programme which included the high profile 17th International Caspian Oil & Gas Conference incorporating Refining & Petrochemicals.  The conference, which was held on 2-3 June in the Hyatt Regency, discussed Azerbaijan's role in European energy geopolitics; global demand for hydrocarbons and Caspian gas resources; the establishment of a constructive dialogue between Europe and Asia; and the importance of the Caspian region for energy security in Europe.

At the plenary session, Azerbaijan’s Industry and Energy Minister, Mr. Natig Aliyev, noted the growing volume of oil and gas production in Azerbaijan, and highlighted the contribution of oil and gas projects to the prosperity of the country.  The conference speakers also included: Mr. Richard Morningstar, U.S. Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy; Mr. Heinz Hilbrecht, Director, Security of Supply, Department of Energy, European Commission; Mr. Kairgeldy Kabyldin, CEO of KazMunayGas; and many others.  The ‘Year of the Environment’ in Azerbaijan, and the interest of oil companies in this area, was the subject of a separate meeting, ending the first day of the conference, which focused on alternative energy and environmental issues.  The Chairman of the session and keynote speaker was Azerbaijan’s Deputy Environment and Natural Resources Minister, Mr. Novruz Guliyev.

On the second day of the conference, the First Vice-President of SOCAR, Mr. Khoshbakht Yusifzade, talked about the second stage of development of the Shakh-Deniz field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.  Among the other speakers were: Dr. Konstantinos Mathioudakis, Energy Secretary General to the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change; Mr. Vaclav Bartushka, Ambassador for Energy Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic; Mr. Christian Dolezal, Head of Public Relations, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH; and representatives of the top management of BP, RWE Dea AG, Statoil, Total and others.  In total, the conference was attended by over 400 delegates.  A new agreement was signed alongside the conference that will develop the land-based Balakhany field, as well as an agreement to speed up work on existing projects.

Both the conference and exhibition were well attended. The flow of visitors was consistent throughout the exhibition and total visitor numbers were up slightly against the 2009 figure despite moving to a new venue.

The Baku Expocenter is a purpose-built exhibition venue located on the outskirts of the capital, near to the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. The opening of the exhibition was preceded by the official opening ceremony of the building itself.  The Head of State cut the symbolic ribbon and took a tour of the exhibition complex.  The total area of the central building is 36,163 m².  The centre is equipped to international standards and the entrance to the venue is dominated by an eye catching, 37m revolving digital display tower.

Caspian Oil & Gas 2010 was deemed to be a great success.  Impressive exhibits in an equally impressive venue and compelling conference subjects coupled with exceptional networking opportunities provided an ideal environment for business. The success also reinforced the event’s status as the region’s leading annual meeting place for stakeholders in the Azerbaijan oil and gas sector.

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