Caspian Oil & Gas 2011: a successful demonstration of the region’s potential energy resources
Today is the final day of the 18th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition & Conference Incorporating Refining and Petrochemicals. In a few hours’ time the largest event in the Caspian oil and gas sector will enter history as one of the most significant exhibitions organized in Azerbaijan by the British ITE Group Plc. and Iteca Caspian LLC, its Caucasian partner. It is noteworthy that Caspian Oil & Gas 2011 created a very favourable impression with plenty of high-ranking international visitors, leading specialists and key players in the world’s oil sector. Letters of welcome to the exhibition were sent by Barack Obama, the US President, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, Rejep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Union. Dozens of members of international media provided far-reaching coverage of the event.
The official opening ceremony of the exhibition is annually led by HE Ilham Aliyev, the President of Azerbaijan Republic. Such patronage from the Head of State gives this event special status and testifies to its exclusive role in the Caspian region. On the 7th June, in his welcoming speech at the opening of Caspian Oil & Gas 2011, President Aliyev highlighted the significance of this event on an international scale. He noted that the volume of investments into the Azerbaijani economy since 1995 equals US$97 billion, with US$42 billion falling to the share of the oil and gas sector, and that, for the most part, these investments were of international origin. According to the Head of State, Azerbaijan is currently strengthening its role in ensuring the energy security of other countries: the country has won the trust of other countries, investments are protected by the state and the nation’s policy with regard to this issue is constant. President Aliyev observed that the proven gas reserves of Azerbaijan equal 2.2 trillion cubic metres, that the currency reserves of the country amount to US$35 billion, and that the GDP of the nation has increased three times in the past seven years.
One of the most important services rendered by the exhibition is its informational platform, through which thousands of exhibitors and visitors improve their knowledge, not only of the specifics of the energy industry, but also of the establishment and development of the economy of the independent Azerbaijan and its role in the international community. The Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference has become a forum which narrates our victories and achievements in all sectors of the economy especially convincingly. The attraction of investments within the framework of “The Contract of the Century” provided the initial stimulus, after which significant steps were taken to deliver Azerbaijani oil to the global market. Among the very important activities that have been completed, the construction of oil export pipelines is of particular note.
Interest in the exhibition and conference has been highlighted by the presence of several high-ranking foreign guests. VIP guests at the exhibition and conference have included Haakon, Crown Prince of Norway, Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Energy, Richard Morningstar, the US Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Alexander Khetaguri, Georgian Energy Minister, Ola Borten Moe, Norwegian Oil and Energy Minister, representatives of the relevant ministries of Azerbaijan, Hungary, Ukraine, Russia and Turkmenistan, and the heads of major oil and gas companies and organizations. In total 285 companies from 27 countries held stands in two vast showrooms at Baku Expo Centre. The key displays reflect the latest oil and gas equipment and innovative technologies in oil production and energy transportation. Projects demonstrating both the current and future development of Azerbaijan’s oil sector draw the attention of visitors. For the first time last year the exhibition was held in the new, modern Baku Expo Centre, which allowed exhibitors to build more creative stands for the exhibition. The heads of production, transportation, exploration, engineering, logistics, petrochemical and processing companies have had the perfect opportunity to present their business concepts in a most convincing way.
The growing attention given to the exhibition on an international level is due to the interests of large exporters, contemporary producers and consumers of modern products and services. Exhibitors include national stands from the United Kingdom, Russia, Turkey and Germany. “The USA intends to proceed with steady co-operation with Azerbaijan in the field of energy security and in multi-vectored development for the achievement of stability and progress in the Caucasian region", read the message of President Barack Obama to the exhibition and conference.
Over 40% of the exhibition space is occupied by globally renowned state oil and gas companies and corporations, most of which are regular participants in the Caspian Oil and Gas exhibition, i.e. BP, Itochu, OMV Gas International GmbH, SOCAR, Statoil, Total, TPAO and many others. This year, a number of companies are using a completely new strategy for their exhibition stands, while many others, such as Schlumberger and Azfen-Tekfen Alliance, have almost doubled the area of their stands compared to last year.
The reputable content of the exhibition has had positive effect on the size the exhibition space, which has increased by 25% compared to last year. New companies at the Caspian Oil & Gas 2011 Exhibition account for 12% of the total number of exhibitors. The exhibition spaces have become the venue for meetings and lively discussions between thousands of specialists and entrepreneurs, who have enthusiastically been discussing the issues of the oil and gas sector and become acquainted with the latest achievements in oil and gas production and processing. The Southern Corridor, a priority energy project for the European Union, destined to diversify the routes and sources of energy supplies thereby improving the energy security of the EU, is another important topic in the professional exchange of opinions.
On the first day of Caspian Oil & Gas 2011, the exhibition achieved one of its main goals – the promotion of business co-operation on a global level. Many interviewed foreign exhibitors and businessmen stated that they had met specialists, entrepreneurs and potential distributors here, with whom they were ready to agree long-term contracts. Other participants are ever more satisfied with the outcome of their debut because they have gained a perfect understanding of the Azerbaijani market for energy products and have studied the local situation. The majority of regular participants at this event, the specialists in the sector, perceive the exhibition and conference as an integral part of the Caspian energy industry, and one which promotes a more extensive exchange of experience between foreign and national companies and the introduction of advanced technologies. The comprehensive business programme, through which workshops and presentations relevant to a broad spectrum of representatives from the oil and gas sector are conducted, is a traditional component of the four-day long Caspian Oil & Gas event.
The exhibition has another surprising and exclusive expositional policy! Many visitors were pleasantly surprised that during the exhibition a small symbolic art gallery displaying children’s creativity was established here. Thus the organizers emphasized the continuity of the industrial tradition that during the implementation of mega-projects care of the younger generation is considered and childhood creativity stimulated.
Traditional support for Caspian Oil & Gas was provided by the Ministry of Industry and Energy of Azerbaijan Republic and by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR). This year the exhibition received the “Brand Award Azerbaijan 2010” prize after a nomination in The Brand of the Year No. 1: “Exhibitions in Azerbaijan” category. The exhibition has been acknowledged by UFI (the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry) for six consecutive years. The “UFI Approved Event” status testifies to the compliance of the exhibition with all international standards.
Azerfon-Vodafone, AZAL, Greenwich Travel Club, Caspel and the Caucasus Point Hotel are acting as partners of all exhibitions held in 2011.