Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev has used his annual appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos to put an end to specuation about relations between his country and the energy giant, BP.
BP has been the main foreign company leading the consortium that has developed Azerbaijan's energy resources in the Caspian Sea. On Wednesday Aliev met in Davos with the current chirman of BP Carl Henrick Svanberg. Earlier Aliev spoke about relations with BP in an interview with CNN.In the interview, CNN anchor Richard Quest noted that the issue of Azerbaijan's relationship with BP has been widely discussed in media. He asked Aliev if he was concerned about reports of closer relations between BP and the Russian company Rosneft, and whether this could lead to interference in Azerbaijani energy policy. The President was very clear in his answer:
"First of all, of course, we are not concerned. First of all, BP is a company which has been present in Azerbaijan almost since the very beginning of our independence, since 1994. It is a history of relationship for almost 20 years. And very friendly relationship. Partnership relationship. And also the relationship which will continue for 20 years more because the projects which we are now implementing jointly with BP aimed at the future. Therefore, I am not concerned about any other issues which BP pursues with other partners", Ilham Aliyev said.
Speculation about relations between Azerbaijan and BP surfaced a few months ago when in a rare public rebuke, Aliev criticised the management of BP for failing to ensure oil production from Azerbaijani offshore oilfields according to an agreed schedule. The shortfall was later blamed on technical problems and some senior BP officials were replaced. However the criticism unleashed a lot of media speculation on what is seen as one of the most enduring and successful business relations in the region. This speculation is clearly not in Azerbaijan's interest either and Aliev has now used Davos to put an end to it. BP was instrumental in securing for Azerbaijan and indepent energy policy not dependant on Russia. It has also been a key factor in embedding Azerbaijan within a US/EU economic environment.
source: commonspace.eu with CNN
photo: President Aliev with the Chairman of BP in Davos on 23 January 2013.
Azerbaijani media reported that the two men exchanged views on issues related to the Karabakh conflict and the situation on the line of contact in the Karabakh conflict zone.