By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan’s relations with Japan continue to develop steadily. Japan has provided significant financial support for the implementation of a number of projects in the country.
In particular, Japan contributed to the development of the large oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan. Japan was one of the first countries to support Azerbaijan's forward-looking oil strategy.
Two major Japanese companies Itochu and Impex are involved in the Contract of the Century, a large-scale international contract dated September 20, 1994, on the joint development of three oil fields - Azeri, Chirag and Gunashli (ACG) in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea.
These companies will operate in Azerbaijan at least until 2050 within the modified and redeveloped agreement on joint development and shared distribution of production from the Azeri, Chirag fields and the deepwater part of the Gunashli field, signed in 2017.
Rovnag Abdullayev, President of the state oil company SOCAR, met with a delegation led by Keita Ishii, President of Itochu Corporation, Co-Chair of Japan-Azerbaijan Economic Committee, and discussed further cooperation between the two companies on July 10.
Abdullayev congratulated Ishii on his appointment as the co-chair of the Committee. He spoke about the long-term cooperation between Itochu and SOCAR, pointing to the great opportunities for the development of these ties.
Abdullayev gave detailed information about the conditions created for protection of foreign investment in Azerbaijan and highly appreciated the Japanese companies' participation in the oil and gas sector of the country.
Head of Japanese delegation, in turn, noted that Itochu is interested in cooperation with SOCAR in all directions and formats.
It should be noted that along with ACG block field, Itochu also participated in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline project and in the construction of the SOCAR’s Star Oil Refinery in Turkey.
Moreover, leaders of Japanese business – Mitsui, Mitsubishi, Marubeni, and Sojits – are also involved in energy and infrastructure projects in Azerbaijan. Mitsui intends to develop cooperation especially in alternative energy.
Also, construction of "North" electricity and "North-2" gas-steam power stations in Azerbaijan is implemented through the loan provided by Japanese government.
The trade turnover between Azerbaijan and Japan amounted to $394 million in 2018, the largest share of which accounted for the imports from Japan.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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