On June 1st, the International Caspian Oil & Gas 2017 Conference launched at the JW Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel. With the participation of 400 representatives, the conference set the stage for discussions about the prospects for the development of Azerbaijan’s oil and gas industry against the backdrop of the current realities, ensuring the environmental and industrial safety of procurement operations, and other topical issues.
Over 40 speakers, among them leading experts, representatives of state agencies, and heads of major oil and gas companies from around the world delivered reports on key production and management issues and the diversification of the transportation of energy resources. Gathering top managers of leading companies, representatives, line ministries, and authoritative industry experts on one discussion platform, the oil and gas forum provides an opportunity for an exchange of views on topical issues in the development of the oil and gas industry.
The theme of the plenary session was “The role of Azerbaijan in the global energy sector, the status of major projects, and strategies for their future development.”
The main subject of discussion at the conference was the development of the oil and gas industry of not only the Caspian region, but also of the whole world. High-level leaders and industry professionals gathered in Baku to discuss and analyze key projects relating to the production and efficient transportation of hydrocarbon resources to the world market, to ensure the energy security of Europe and other markets that are consumers of increasingly large volumes of oil and gas.
The 1st Plenary Session of the conference on “The role of Azerbaijan in the global energy sector, the status of major projects, and strategies for their future development” was opened by the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan Natig Aliyev. He noted the important role of the Caspian Oil & Gas exhibition in the development of the oil and gas industry in Azerbaijan.
According to him, a large number of companies gathered in Baku to participate in this year’s exhibition to showcase their achievements to the entire world. “From this point of view, Caspian Oil & Gas is an important forum”, said Natig Aliyev.
The minister recalled that on May 31, at the opening of the 24th Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition in Baku Expo Centre, Special Advisor of ITE Group, Sir Andrew Wood, noted that about 300 companies and dozens of foreign specialists were taking part in Caspian Oil & Gas 2017. “This is a clear indication of the growing interest in Azerbaijan. Our country has vast opportunities in terms of developing the oil and gas industry”, said N. Aliyev, stressing that today Azerbaijan continues its glorious history of oil production.
In closing, the Minister wished success to all the participants of the conference.
Head of the Gas Market Analysis Department of the International Forum of Gas Exporting Countries (GECF) Ms Mahdjouba Belaifa shared her vision for the development of the global gas market with the participants of the conference. According to her, Azerbaijan’s capital is the cradle of oil production, and the country itself has colossal oil and gas reserves.
Ms Belaifa is convinced that despite the observed instability of the gas market and of the prices of ‘blue-sky fuel’, natural gas is still the most popular fuel. Most likely, this situation will remain unchanged in the future. The reason for this is the growing demand for gas, not only in Europe but also in other regions of the world, as well as other factors relating to global warming, the ongoing global socio-economic processes and so on.
Ms Belaifa stressed that due to Azerbaijan’s participation in supplying gas to Europe, the market would be supplemented with an additional 16 bcm of ‘blue-sky fuel’ in the near future, and that by 2030 this volume would increase to 30 bcm.
Deputy Energy Minister of Romania, Mr Julian-Robert Tudorache, in his speech noted the huge role of the Caspian region in terms of ensuring the diversification of gas supplies to Europe. According to him, the Caspian region has become a reliable European partner and plays an active role in the process of creating new projects aimed at ensuring the energy security of the European continent.
Mr Tudorache believes that Azerbaijan has made a huge contribution to implementing the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) project, and is today actively promoting new initiatives to establish energy cooperation.
Speaking about the development of the oil and gas industry in Romania, the Deputy Minister noted the success of his country’s collaboration with the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and the need to implement new projects aimed at ensuring the energy security of Romania.
“Romania is looking for new sources of hydrocarbon raw materials and intends to continue its cooperation with the countries of the Caspian region, in particular, with Azerbaijan. I think this forum will give additional impetus to the development of Romanian-Azerbaijani relations”, said the Deputy Energy Minister of Romania.
The Petroleum Minister of Angola, Mr Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos, expressed his gratitude to Azerbaijan for the training of highly qualified Angolan personnel for their oil and gas industry. According to him, many Angolan specialists were trained in Azerbaijani universities, and have subsequently made a huge contribution to the development of the oil and gas sector in Angola.
Mr Vasconcelos noted that the driving force behind Angola’s economy is the oil and gas industry, which currently accounts for 96% of the country’s exports. Angola is therefore seeking to diversify its economy. Nevertheless, the urgent task before them is the further development of the oil and gas industry. To this end, the country pursues a policy of encouraging investments, including new innovative oil and gas extraction technologies to extract oil from deep-lying formations, and the creation of new joint ventures with international companies.
“The Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition and Conference is an authoritative event”, remarked Alisher Sultanov, Chairman of the Board of the “Uzbekneftegaz” holding company in his speech. He noted that the corporation he represents is taking part in this largest forum of the Caspian region for the first time.
According to A. Sultanov, at present “Uzbekneftegaz” realizes more than 50 investment projects worth $ 30 bn. In 2017 alone, some $ 3 bn. is slated to be spent. And today Uzbekistan is aiming at the production of high value-added products - various polyethylenes, polymers, synthetic fuels, naphtha, etc. This will ensure the development of the oil and gas chemical complex, and the country as a whole in the longer term.
According to the speaker, the “Uzbekneftegaz” corporation is ready to discuss cooperating with all interested parties, including SOCAR, whose specialists can participate in the exploration and development of new deposits in Uzbekistan, the production of drilling fluids, and significantly increase the level of oil and gas service and field works.
The Caspian Oil & Gas 2017 conference continued with a second meeting, where the plans of key players to develop onshore and offshore fields, and the expansion of international cooperation in the implementation of oil and gas projects were discussed. The weight of the topics discussed underscores the high status of the speakers. Among them were SOCAR’s First Vice-President Khoshbakht Yusifzadeh, Executive Vice-President of Norwegian Statoil Lars Christian Baher, and Total’s Vice-President for Europe and the Caspian Region Bernard Clement.
Official support for the exhibition was generously provided by the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan Republic and State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic.
There are 20 companies sponsoring the event. The General sponsor of the conference was SOCAR; the conference’s Gold sponsors were BP and Petronas; the Silver sponsors of the conference were: Inpex, McDermott and Statoil, and the bronze sponsors were Caspian Geophysical JV, Dentons, Fluor, Huawei, Lamor Corporation, Microsoft, Nobel Upstream, Reflex Marine, Schlumberger, Siemens, TAP, Total Absheron, Yokogawa, and Zenith Energy.