Japanese companies intent on joining Azerbaijani energy projects
By Aynur Karimova
Japanese companies are interested in participation in Azerbaijan’s various energy, oil and gas and petrochemical projects, according to a statement by Akira Amari, the Japanese Minister in charge of Economic Revitalization, Total Reform of Social Security and Tax and Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy, at a meeting with the Head of Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR, Rovnag Abdullayev, in Baku on October 27.
During the meeting Abdullayev discussed the participation of Japan’s Itochu and Inpex companies in the development of the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli block of fields within the framework of the “Contract of the Century,” and in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline.
He also mentioned the role of the Itochu Company in the construction of Star oil refinery in Turkey and the role of Japanese banks in financing the project.
As part of his visit to Azerbaijan, Akira Amari also met with Energy Minister Natig Aliyev and discussed the current state and future prospects of cooperation in the energy sector.
The sides confirmed that relations between the two countries had entered a new stage in energy cooperation during Azerbaijan’s independence years.
Aliyev stressed the importance of prolonging friendly Azerbaijani-Japanese ties.
Amari, in turn, thanked Azerbaijan for the support of Japan’s Itochu Corporation in participating in the ACG, BTC projects for more than 20 years.
Japan intends to develop not only economic, but also political relations with Azerbaijan. During a meeting with Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov, Amari vowed to do his utmost to contribute to the expansion of the bilateral cooperation.
Asadov stressed the importance of high-level reciprocal visits and meetings in promoting the development of bilateral ties.
“I hope that your visit will help us move our relationship forward,” he said. “Our countries have so far signed 26 documents and they are about to ink another 23 documents.”
Amari, in turn, underlined the significance of finding a solution to the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“The settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is important for ensuring peace in the region,” he noted.
Azerbaijan and Japan signed a letter of intent in the healthcare field during a meeting held between Abid Sharifov, Azerbaijan's Deputy Prime Minister and Akira Amari.
Diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Japan were established in 1992 and relations between the two countries have continued to develop steadily since. Japan was one of the first countries to support Azerbaijan's forward-looking oil strategy.
Today, two major Japanese companies, Itochu and Impex, are involved in the Contract of the Century. Leaders of Japanese business, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Marubeni, and Sojits are working on energy and infrastructure projects in the country.
Azerbaijan is considering further cooperation with Japan in the field of high technology, particularly in the manufacture of innovative production, with aim to allow Japanese companies to further enter regional markets.
So far, Japanese companies were involved mainly in projects in the energy sector, but in recent years, their interest to cooperate in areas such as petrochemicals, oil refining, energy, medicine, high-tech and space industry has increased.
Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova
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