Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony of putting of drilling rig "Gurtulush" (Salvation) into operation - August 29, 2000

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Dear ladies and gentlemen!

Dear visitors!

Dear oilmen!

Today we have gathered on this solemn ceremony in connection with new significant historical event in a life of Azerbaijan. Cooperation of Azerbaijan with the huge oil companies of the world is successfully carried out. For the last years we have gained many achievements, and the new step in this direction today is being undertaken and a new drilling rig is put into exploitation.

As you know, it was told here again, in the construction, installation and creation of this drilling rig, the oil companies of many foreign countries and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan have worked jointly and presented us this drilling rig for exploitation. In creation of this drilling rig the Azerbaijan oilmen, engineers and experts have participated actively together with experts of the foreign companies.

I congratulate you on the occasion of this significant event. I congratulate the companies of the foreign countries working together with us, which have provided the creation and putting into operation of this rig!

I cordially congratulate and thank the Azerbaijan oilmen, in particular, our experts, our engineers, and all oilmen working in creation of this rig and accepting in it active participation!

I congratulate all Azerbaijan people, citizens of the country on this significant event!

Natig Aliyev who has delivered a thorough report on drilling rig "Gurtulush", and our visitors have informed us in detail. This information has really amazed all of us.

What is the value of creation of this drilling rig, and its delivery today into operation for Azerbaijan, our people?

First, it shows that new oil strategy of the independent Azerbaijan state is successfully put into practice.

Second, it shows that foreign investments continue to be put into Azerbaijan. As it was noted here, for creation of this rig 175 million dollars have been expended. These are new investments and new capital for Azerbaijan.

It shows to the whole world a high level of Azerbaijan people, oilmen, engineers, experts, workers, and their ability to conduct great work.

It shows that the most up-to-date techniques, technology of the highest level in the world come to Azerbaijan, and it has very great value for development of a petroleum industry of Azerbaijan, and for increasing of the level of the Azerbaijan experts, oilmen and engineers.

It shows that due to the construction of this installation, more than thousand Azerbaijanis have got new workplaces, received high wages and improved the well-being. As they have told here, from construction of this rig Azerbaijan has received profit as taxes and other payments at the rate of 28 million dollars.

These are the practical results of new oil strategy of Azerbaijan and its victory! These are results of the way along which we successfully follow!

You remember, how in 1994 when Azerbaijan was in heavy situation, our country experienced both social and economic difficulties, and political stability in republic was not up to the mark, we invited the big oil companies of the world to Azerbaijan. They believed the Azerbaijan state and made the decision to invest the big capitals in our country. As a result of teamwork, in September, 1994 Azerbaijan signed the contract with 11 large oil companies of the world. This contract had assumed such a great character that it was named the "Contract of century".

The "Contract of century" has caused a deep resonance in the world. This event has rejoiced Azerbaijan people, our friends, and created great hopes in our people. You remember that there were also some people, who did not trust in this contract and also the forces, wishing to prevent its realization. However, the life and the time proved that the Azerbaijan state followed the true, and right way, and the great states, the oil companies of the world started teamwork with Azerbaijan in 1994 and they already see practical results of it.

In a short period we obtained practical results. In 1997, we extracted oil from the deposit of "Chirag" and started to export it to the world markets. This oil began to be exported on the pipeline Baku-Novorossiysk. Then, for short term, we constructed an oil pipeline of Baku - Supsa and solemnly opened it in April, 1999, and the oil extracted on deposits of Azerbaijan, is being delivered on this oil pipeline to the world markets today.

We have discovered the big, huge resources of gas on the "Shahdeniz" deposit in the Caspian Sea. We have also declared all the world that Azerbaijan known as the oil country, now it will be also known as a gas country and has new opportunities for delivery of gas to foreign markets. Necessary practical work for this purpose is being followed as well.

After the "Contract of century" during the last years 19 contracts have been signed. About 30 companies of foreign countries take part in them. These are visual proofs that plenty of oil and gas of Azerbaijan will be extracted and delivered to the world markets.

We were engaged in problems of construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export oil pipeline during five years for delivery of the big oil output to the world markets. As you know, in November last year at the Istanbul summit of the OSCE, the presidents of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan signed the contract on the oil pipeline of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, and the president of the United States of America has put his signature to this big project. Thus, we have achieved creation of the main oil pipeline for launching of the big oil to the world markets.

Now the Azerbaijan International Operational Company together with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, the oil companies of Turkey and Georgia take proper measures to start the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline. These measures should be taken quickly to start to activity.

Unfortunately, now we have faced with new problems. Some people again want to prevent the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline. Some people are in the opinion that in Azerbaijan there does not exist so much oil and consequently, there is no need in the construction of this pipeline.

It is natural that some of these forces and circles, probably, do not understand it and other people for various reasons want to prevent launching to the world markets of the Azerbaijan oil from the basin of the Caspian Sea having big energy resources. But they won't be able to do anything. The project of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline should be prepared, the contract has been signed about it, and the construction of this pipeline should be started. This pipeline will be constructed, the work will be carried out in time, and nobody will be able to prevent this. Today's event, this solemn ceremony is a visual evidence to the words that I have just said.

You know that for the last few years, two huge boring installations for conducting and maintaining the prospecting works, drilling of wells in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian sea, the semi-submersible drilling rigs "Dede Gorgud" and "Istiglal" have been prepared and put into operation. Now they carry out their functions.

Today we witness of construction, preparation and putting into operation of a new drilling rig. Such drilling rigs will also be constructed further. Because rich oil and gas deposits in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea and, as a whole, the energy resources of the Caspian region demand many similar drilling rigs for conducting boring, prospecting works to begin oil and gas production. If it would be not so, then why 175 million dollars of investment would be required for the creation of such a drilling rig?!

What I told is the answer to those ill-wishers, treating hostile concern to Azerbaijan and envying at our country and, as a whole, to those impeding integration of economy of Azerbaijan into the world economy.

The works we have done till now, and also the work to be carried out in the future in this sphere, provides the ways leading to improvement of well-being of Azerbaijan people, development of economy of Azerbaijan, prosperity of our country, as an independent state.

The overwhelming majority of Azerbaijan people highly estimates the work carried out by us, cherish to it big hopes and they are happy with all these achievements, including our today's success. Let those who want it, rejoice, and those who do not want it, become blind!

We have named the first semi-submersible drilling rig as - "Dede Gorgud" (proper name). It has extremely great historical and national value. Dede Gorgud is our ancestor. Providing the use of new oil deposits in Caspian Sea, improvement of well-being of Azerbaijan people due to this drilling rig, will evidently gladden the soul of our ancient ancestor as Dede Gorgud. Therefore we have named it "Dede Gorgud".

We have named the second drilling rig as "Istiglal"(Independence). Why? Because, if we did not gain our independence and the sovereignty, if our nation did not become free, if Azerbaijan did not found the state independence and become one of the states enjoying equal rights in the world community, we would not be able to implement this great plan of oil strategy and other issues. The independence, the sovereignty are the most valuable concepts for us, for our people for today and will be henceforth. Therefore, we have named this drilling rig the "Istiglal".

The new rig which we put into operation today is named "Gurtulush"(Salvation). It has great importance as well. Why "Gurtulush"? Because salvation means rescuing of Azerbaijan people from enslavement, colonialism. Salvation means becoming free for Azerbaijan people. Salvation means rescuing of Azerbaijan people from disasters, which have undergone last years. Salvation means rescuing from civil war happened in 1993 in Azerbaijan. Salvation means prevention of threat to partition of Azerbaijan. Salvation means independence, freedom of Azerbaijan. Therefore this rig is called "Gurtulush".

I wish success to the drilling rig "Gurtulush" and personel who will operate it, work there, and I want to express my confidence that the drilling rig "Gurtulush" will make its contribution to realization of new oil strategy of the Azerbaijan state, will adequately work on drilling new oil wells, oil and gas production and please us with its achievements.

Dear friends!

Today's event pleases all of us as we are witnesses of the new victory, new achievement. I am glad also because I have had an opportunity to meet again Azerbaijani oilmen being very dear for me.

Long live the Azerbaijani oilmen!

Long live independent Azerbaijan!

I wish the drilling rig "Gurtulush" many and many successes!

Thank you.

Brief essays

Oil and gas pipelines

General historical background