By Gulgiz Dadashova
Russia and Azerbaijan have agreed to expand cooperation in the exploration and production of oil and gas, which is one of the important results of the working visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Baku. Russia also voiced interest in development of natural gas market in Azerbaijan.
President of Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev and President of Russian Rosneft Oil Company Igor Sechin ,in the presence of the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, undersigned agreement on cooperation and main terms of oil transportation. Thus, the sides agreed to form a joint venture on a parity basis for projects in exploration and production of oil and gas in various countries, including Russia and Azerbaijan, as well as joint use of some pipelines and terminals.
Rosneft and SOCAR also agreed to cooperate in the marketing and sale of hydrocarbons and petroleum and sharing a number of infrastructure projects, including pipelines and terminals.
Russian President Putin stated about the real importance of the Baku agreements.
"Today, as you know, I've already said, there have been signed the agreements, but they have the prospect of 15, maybe 20, years, i.e. a good foundation is laid for cooperation for many and many years in advance," Putin said, noting that Russia and Azerbaijan are large international players in the energy sector.
"Mutually beneficial cooperation is also carried out in this regard. New directions and formats of cooperation in the energy industry are being studied. Now I will not repeat all, the scope of work is very large and has a tendency to expand," Putin concluded.
Sechin and Abdullayev also appreciated the agreement as an important new step in a full-scale expansion of Russian-Azerbaijani intergovernmental cooperation in the energy sector. The sides assured that the document will enable the two companies to expand the geography of activity, access to new markets and resources, and optimize the delivery of oil and oil products through the joint use of existing infrastructure.
In early July, SOCAR and Rosneft considered possible energy projects between Russia and Azerbaijan during Sechin's Baku visit. Then, there were voiced large potential for increased cooperation in the framework of ongoing and planned projects and the need for joint efforts towards the realization of these opportunities.
Rosneft is interested in participating in a project to develop the Absheron gas field in the Caspian Sea. Experts note that in the case of Rosneft's entry into this project, the company will get an opportunity to enter the European gas market and be second Russian major player in the Caspian Sea after LUKOIL.
This , in turn, will extend the contacts between Russia and Azerbaijan and new channels of interaction
SOCAR 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 industry and the public in Azerbaijan. Three production divisions, two oil refineries and one gas refinery, an oil tanker fleet, a deep water platform fabrication yard, two trusts, one institution, and 22 subdivisions are operating as corporate entities under SOCAR.
The company owns gas stations in Azerbaijan, Switzerland, Georgia and Ukraine. It has representative offices in Georgia, Turkey, Romania, Austria, Switzerland, Kazakhstan, Great Britain, Iran, Germany and Ukraine and trading companies in Switzerland, Singapore, Vietnam, Nigeria, and other countries.
Rosneft ranks among the world's top publicly traded oil and gas companies. The company is primarily engaged in exploration and production of hydrocarbons, production of petroleum products and petrochemicals, and marketing of outputs. The state holds 69.50 percent in the Company (through OJSC Rosneftegaz), while approximately 10 percent of shares are in free-float.