Contract of the Century
The signing and realization of the “Contract of the Century” is a brilliant result of conducting right oil policy that comprises the economic development concept of independent Azerbaijan Republic.
The process that began with the “Contract of the Century”, which started a new period in the development of Azerbaijan oil industry and economy in general, determined the dinamic development road of Azerbaijan in the XXI century.
“Contract of the Century” was signed in “Gulustan” Palace in Baku on September 20, 1994. The 400-page contract on the development and production sharing of “Azeri”, “Chirag”, “Guneshli” deepwater fields has been prepared in 4 languages. 13 companies (Amoco, BP, McDermott, Unocal, SOCAR, Lukoil, Statoil, Exxon, Turkish petrolium, Penzoil, Itochu, Remko, Delta) from 8 countries (Azerbaijan, USA, Great Britain, Russia, Turkey, Norway, Japan, Saudi Arabia) participated in the “Contract of the Century”. Following this contract, 41 oil companies from 19 countries paved the way for signing further 27 contracts.
After signing “Contract of the Century”, the participants established working structures- Steering Committee, Azerbaijan International Operating Company (AIOC), and Advisory Council. These bodies began operating after they obtained legal authority when Azerbaijan President signed a special Decree on December 2, 1994.
In December 1994, “Contract of the Century” was approved by the Azerbaijani Parliament. After Azerbaijani President signed a relevant Decree, the Contract came into force as the law of Azerbaijan Republic. In 1995, up to 100 million, in 1996, 600 million USD was invested to the project. Thus, by successfully signing “Contract of the Century”, Azerbaijan managed to attract the attention of many European countries and especially of the USA to the country’s problems by creating their economic interests in Azerbaijan. The most important share in the “Contract of the Century” among Western countries in belongs to the USA. Five USA companies, including “Unocal”, “Amoco”, “McDermott”, and “Exxon” have in total 50% investment share that is equal to 5 billion USD.
As a result of works in the direction of signing and realizing successfully “Contract of the Century”, the prestige of Azerbaijan increased in the international arena. The production of first oil made Azerbaijan an oil exporting country of the world.
In spite of the fact that Baku-Supsa and Baku-Novorossiysk oil pipelines were put into operation, they were not capable of exporting the increasing oil resources of Azerbaijan to the world market. Therefore, it was necessary to construct main export oil pipeline at short period. This made the idea of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export oil pipeline the most actual issue. The conception proved to be both real and efficient from the economic point of view and “legend of three seas” became the reality.
As this strategy was realised and contracts with international oil companies were signed, several billion dollars were invested to the development of oil recources of the country. The signing of the contract proved property right of the nation on their resources ones more and showed that Azerbaijan economy is open to the world.
Signing the contract with international oil companies laid the foundation of effective and mutually advantageous co-operation with the countries of the companies participating in the contract, paved the way for strengthening geo-political position of the country, and speeding up the integration process into world economy.
Today Azerbaijan is the leading country in the region and oil factor has great importance in the development its economy. The profit gained from oil is directed to the development of non-oil sector which means the total flourishing of the state economy.
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline
The oil extracted in the framework of “Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli” project is exported to the world market via Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export oil pipeline. The pipe is built from Baku to Ceyhan port in Turkey and its length is equal to 1770 km. From the Caspian till the Mediterranean the pipeline passes from the 3000 m mountains, 1500 river passages and 7 seismic zones. The transportation speed of the oil is 2 meters per second. Besides being economically efficient, the construction of this pipeline has strategic importance for the region as well. The construction works were completed in 2005 and the first oil was transported to Ceyhan on May 28, 2006. On July 4, the first tanker filled with the Azerbaijan oil that passed 1768 km from the Sengechal terminal till Ceyhan via BTC was sent From the Maditerrenean coast of Turkey. The solemn opening ceremony of the pipeline was held in the Ceyhan port and Istanbul city of Turkey with the participation of high-ranking representatives from 98 countries. Azerbaijan, Georgian, and Turkey Presidents added a golden ending to the model of the BTC pipeline as the symbol of its exceptional importance. As BTC is an economically effective pipeline, several countries intend to transport their oil via this pipeline. Thus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan has signed an agreement over the transportation of Kazakhstan oil via BTC.