SOCAR keen on acquiring stakes in Egypt's oil refineries

By Aynur Karimova

Azerbaijan’s state energy giant SOCAR, which is keen on expanding operations in the energy markets abroad, is interested in acquiring stake in Egyptian oil refineries.

This was announced by SOCAR President Rovnag Abdullayev on November 10.

"Oil and gas industry is well-developed in Egypt, and this is a huge market. For several years, we have been exporting oil and petroleum products there in a volume exceeding one million tons. Thus, our trading activity there has reached a high level," he told journalists.

Abdullayev also noted that SOCAR plans to expand its existence in Egypt.

"Now, we are interested in acquiring stakes in oil refinery and participating in the process of oil refining in Egypt," he added.

Abdullayev and Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met in Cairo on November 9 where SOCAR was invited to invest in Egypt's oil and gas industry.

The meeting was also attended by Head of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation Mohamed Al-Masry and Azerbaijani ambassador to Egypt Shahin Abdullayev.

During the meeting, the SOCAR president spoke about the supply of crude oil to Egypt, existing cooperation with EGPC, as well as those SOCAR projects being carried out in Azerbaijan and abroad. He also expressed SOCAR's interest in participating in projects in Egypt.

Sherif Ismail, in turn, said he highly appreciated SOCAR's operation in Egypt and expressed satisfaction with the level of cooperation between SOCAR and EGPC.

He further said that Egypt enjoys huge investment opportunities in the oil and gas industry and urged SOCAR to take them into account. The prime minister also noted that the Egyptian government is ready to support SOCAR's operation in Egypt.

SOCAR, which includes production associations Azerneft, made up of companies involved in the production of onshore and offshore oil and gas, Azerkimya, chemical industry enterprises, and Azeriqaz gas distribution, is involved in exploring oil and gas fields; producing, processing, and transporting oil, gas, and gas condensate; marketing petroleum and petrochemical products in the domestic and international markets; and supplying natural gas to the industries and public in Azerbaijan.

Also, SOCAR owns gas stations in Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Georgia, and Ukraine. It has representative offices in Georgia, Turkey, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Britain, Iran, Germany, and Ukraine, along with trading companies in Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, Nigeria, and other countries.

Egypt and Azerbaijan have had relations which date back centuries, but in the last century the countries have developed closer contacts. Egyptians and Azerbaijanis have much in common, including traditions, culture, customs, attitudes and religion. Since Azerbaijan gained independence in 1991, the two countries have begun building relations in the political, economic, cultural and educational spheres.

Egypt recognized Azerbaijan's independence in December 1991, and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in March 1992.

The trade turnover between the two countries reached $94 million in 2014.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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