Ilham Aliyev attended official opening ceremony of 28th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition within the framework of the Baku Energy Week

31 May 2023, 10:10
Ilham Aliyev attended official opening ceremony of 28th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition within the framework of the Baku Energy Week

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the opening of the 28th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition (Caspian Oil & Gas) and the 11th Caspian International Power and Green Energy Exhibition (Caspian Power) within the framework of the Baku Energy Week at the Baku Expo Center.

The event moderator, UK ICA group Board Advisor Russell Taylor, said in his remarks:

-Your Excellency, President Aliyev,

Distinguished guests.

Ladies and gentlemen.

It’s an honor to be here today on behalf of the Baku Energy Week organizing committee. This year we are delighted to see that there are 320 different companies from 35 different countries, an increase of 25-30 percent on this time last year. This year Baku energy week also coincides with another significant date - the 100th anniversary of the birth of the National Leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. President Aliyev has signed an order to declare 2023 as the year of Heydar Aliyev in this country. Significant occasions will be represented in the calendars and the exhibitions’ programs. A special stand outside is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of Great Leader.

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Azerbaijan and SOCAR, the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, for their support for Baku Energy Week.

Your Excellency, we would also like to extend our gratitude to you for supporting the event in Azerbaijan. Your traditional participation in the opening ceremony shows your commitment to this important and renowned event in the international energy industry’s calendar.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish everyone great success and fruitful work at the Baku Energy Week. Thank you, and I will leave the floor to your Excellency, Mr. President. Please.


The head of state addressed the opening ceremony.

Address by President Ilham Aliyev

- Dear ladies and gentlemen.

Dear guests.

Welcome to the Baku Energy Week. First, I’d like to express gratitude to the organizers of this important event. As mentioned, it’s almost 30 years since 1994; the Caspian Oil and Gas exhibition has been helping Azerbaijan present its potential to international investors. Back in 1994, it was just the beginning of Heydar Aliyev’s oil strategy. As mentioned, this year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founder of the independent Azerbaijan. And 1994 was not only the year of the first Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition but also the year of signing the contract of the century, which completely changed our country's situation, attracted investments, brought economic stability, and led to a more prosperous future of Azerbaijan.

1994 was the year when the First Karabakh War ended, and a ceasefire agreement was signed. After just 2-3 months, the contract of the century was signed. So, Azerbaijan was considered to be a very risky place. It was newly independent. The independence age was less than three years. Only a few people in the world knew about our country - where it was situated. And the country was just in the phase of transformation from the Soviet system to a market economy. Also, the occupation of our territory, a million refugees, and the civil war were not helpful to investors to come and invest. So, it took many efforts to persuade our partners - some of them have been partners for almost 30 years, like BP and other members of the 1st consortium - to come and invest in Azerbaijan. We didn’t have export pipelines. We didn’t have any infrastructure. Even civilian infrastructure was absolutely outdated. Under those circumstances, signing the contract of the century in 1994 was the only step that could provide success, sustainable development, economic independence, and as a result, political independence.

So, the Caspian Oil and Gas Exhibition in 1994 was the first event that presented Azerbaijan to the energy community of the world. So we are very grateful to the organizers for their continuous support. I want to underline that the Baku energy week is, I think, one of the leading international events in the energy area. To prove my words, it's only enough to mention who is sending the messages to our events - President of the United States Biden and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Sunak. This is an indicator of the global importance of our event. Using this opportunity, I'd like to express my gratitude to the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to their representatives at this event for their kind messages and inspiring words.

For almost 30 years, we have successfully cooperated in the energy area. And now, we are diversifying our cooperation not only in the energy area. The US and the UK governments have always supported Azerbaijan’s initiatives to develop its resources in the Caspian Sea. First, oil and gas were very helpful in helping us build energy transportation infrastructure, which actually changed the energy map of Eurasia with oil and gas pipelines. Today, we, as producers, transitors and consumers in Azerbaijan, feel much safer. Energy security is now a matter of national security and may be on the countries’ top list of national security agenda.

I am glad to see the representatives from European Union. As you know, the EU and Azerbaijan signed the MoU on a strategic partnership in the energy field last July in Baku, which is being successfully implemented. We started already and continue the energy dialogue. Together with the EU, we are co-chairs of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, which takes place every February in Baku and is instrumental in coordinating all our efforts. Even now, when Southern Gas Corridor is already totally functioning, we still have new challenges and tasks. Therefore, the EU-Azerbaijan cooperation has a lot of positive moments in history and a lot of potential achievements in the future.

We feel as part of the enormous transformation process - transformation in the energy sector, and of course, Azerbaijan wants here also not to be left behind. We want to be among the front runners when it comes to the area of renewables. And I’m glad to see that more companies involved in renewable sources of energy production are present at our event and, I am sure, as time passes, the number of these companies will increase. So, we started building the oil pipeline and investing with our partners in oil, gas, and gas fields. The Southern Gas Corridor is our joint historical achievement with 3 500 kilometers of integrated pipeline system, which is an important tool to provide energy security and diversification.

Speaking at the Caspian oil and gas show and opening ceremonies, I often said that energy security is not only a diversification of routes but also sources. And now, everybody clearly sees that. In our case, it is both diversification of routes, diversification of sources, and very committed teamwork between companies, countries, and international financial institutions. So we really work as a team because we have one target - how to strengthen energy security and how to help each other overcome difficulties, whether they are situational or strategic. We are very proud that the European Union high-- ranking officials called Azerbaijan a reliable partner, which is accurate and called Azerbaijan a Pan-European gas supplier, which also becomes true.

If you look at the events since the last Baku energy week last year, we'll see that more European countries are actively cooperating with Azerbaijan. I can mention several important milestones which happened after we last met here. In July, the European Commission and Azerbaijan, as I already said, signed the MoU on a strategic partnership in the field of energy. And we plan to double our gas supply to the European Union market by 2027. This is absolutely realistic. Looking at the dynamic of our gas supply to Europe, we'll see that it was 8 billion cubic meters last year; this year, it will be 12 bcm. And this is almost half of our total exports. And the sources to increase up to 20 bcm minimum by 2027 are available. One of them is our major gas field Shahdeniz, and we hope to hear very good news from another gas field, Absheron. We hope to hear good news about the first gas from Absheron soon. Very soon.

We are already totally engaged with our strategic partner BP with respect to the production of so-called deep gas from the ACG projects, and if everything goes according to our plan, by the end of next year, we will have the first gas production. We have many other fields capable of producing an additional volume of gas. At the same time, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are also a part of our energy dialogue with the EU. It will allow us to save gas, which we're using for electricity, and supply it to international markets.

Among the important events of the last year, I would also name the inauguration of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector. I was invited to attend the ceremony, so Azerbaijan started to supply gas to Bulgaria. And through Bulgaria, we are now evaluating the opportunities, and I'm sure we will start soon supply to the neighboring countries. And Romania is already part of our cooperation format. If everything goes again according to the schedule, and all the planned interconnectors are built on time, our gas can reach Hungary and Serbia by the end of the year. Therefore, that will expand our geography of gas supplies.

There was also an important event last December in the area of green energy in Bucharest. Several countries, including Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary, and Romania, and the President of the European Commission attended the ceremony. An agreement on green energy and transmission was signed. I'm sure it will be a global project and attract more countries and companies. We already held the first meeting of the steering committee. We came to an agreement that it will be an integrated project from offshore winds in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea to European markets, including transmission lines and subsea cable under the Black Sea.

We are now in the phase of the expected finalization of the feasibility study. We think this project can transport a minimum of 4 gigawatts of green energy to Europe, which will be our additional contribution.

Among important events, I also would like to name the ceremony initiated by the President of Bulgaria, which took place this April in Sofia. The project is called Solidarity Ring and includes Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, which envisages additional interconnectors. Therefore, when European Union high-ranking officials called Azerbaijan a Pan-European gas supplier, they were absolutely right.

I’m sure our supplies’ geography will expand because the need for Azerbaijani gas is growing. Over ten countries have approached us during the last year and a half concerning either an increase in supplies or the beginning of supplies. And, of course, we want to satisfy all our friends’ needs and coordinate investments with market opportunities. I’d like to underline that it will also be important for international financial institutions to support these projects. However, concerning the green energy transition, some international financial institutions have stopped financing projects based on fossil fuels. We need to treat all the issues from a realistic point of view. Today, it is clear that without natural gas supplies, energy security cannot be provided to the degree it is needed.

Talking about renewables, I’d also like to say that Azerbaijan has enormous potential, which has already been assessed. It's 157 gigawatts of green energy alone in the Caspian Sea, not to mention onshore potential. Two contracts have already been signed with international investors, allowing us to get almost 500 megawatts within probably the next year or a year and a half.

In total, contracts and MoUs have been signed equal to 25 gigawatts concerning investments in green energy in Azerbaijan. Of course, signing MOU does not necessarily mean it will become an agreement. Though, the companies we signed an MoU with are the leading companies on a global scale in renewable energy. Therefore, there is a high probability that MoU will transform into an agreement. Even if half of what has been signed as an MoU is implemented, that will be more than enough. That will be two times more than Azerbaijan consumes today domestically. And as I said before, we will use a substantial volume of natural gas, which we still use to produce electricity, and will supply our partners.

Of course, there are many things to do. We need to expand TANAP and TAP. We need unimpeded access to other European pipeline systems, including the trans-Balkan pipeline system. And there must be more interconnectors in Europe, and it is going. So all these issues must be implemented in coordination because we have to undertake substantial investments. Therefore, of course, we must be sure that the gas - which we extract additionally and did not plan but decided to extract because of the growing need in Europe - will find its consumers. All that definitely will need a continuation of teamwork. As I said, though the Southern Gas Corridor project is finished, the Advisory Council on the Southern Gas Corridor takes place every year in February. It will take place again in Baku in February because we have new participants. We have new ideas and new plans. If we implement all that we planned so far successfully, we will be successful in the future. Thank you very much.


Assistant US Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt and UK Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan Baroness Emma Nicholson read out the letters to President Ilham Aliyev by President of the United States of America Joseph Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, respectively.


Director of the Energy Platform Task Force in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy Christina Lobillo Borrero addressed the event.


Following the speeches, the head of state viewed the 28th International Caspian Oil & Gas Exhibition (Caspian Oil & Gas) and the 11th Caspian International Power and Green Energy Exhibition (Caspian Power) within the framework of the Baku Energy Week at the Baku Expo Center.

President Ilham Aliyev signed the Exhibition’s guest book.

The head of state was presented with commemorative gifts.