From the conversation of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the delegation headed by John Brown, the president of BP - Presidential palace, June 22, 2001

Dear John Brown, my old friend!

Dear guests!

I am greeting all of you in Azerbaijan. I consider today`s meeting very significant. Therefore, welcome to Azerbaijan!

Two days ago, I recollected you during my speech at the ceremony, organized by the embassy of your country on a day of a national holiday of Great Britain. I don`t know whether mister Woodword told you or not. In that sense that for the first time we have started to work with you on realization of national oil strategy of Azerbaijan, and the largest company, arrived in Azerbaijan for development of its natural resources and carrying out very useful work, is the company BP and its president mister John Brown. Seven years have passed since signing the first contract together with you.

When we signed this contract, we thought of the big way, which was really big and long. However, first, we have already passed a part of this way, and secondly, the part, which was passed by us, shows that our way will be even more successful in the future. I think that during your current visit, we will discuss these questions. Welcome.

John Brown: Mister President, I express my gratitude to you for receiving us. Thank you very much. To meet you again gives me personal pleasure. Besides, arrival in Azerbaijan after a long break gives me even great pleasure. It seems to me that our present meeting is decisive moment in our works. It is such a turning point that your prospections and your dreams, connected with development of energy resources, start to be carried out in Azerbaijan. I remember very well our long conversations on projects which will be realized in the nearest future. I remember very well and I know your consecutive determination, your dreams and prospections connected with the future in this business. In particular, we spoke about those projects, which will be implemented, we enter a new stage of those projects. I consider that your decisiveness and your dream find its reflection in our present projects. Together, we will be able to develop them.

Mister President, my company, the BP Company completely shares your determination and your dreams. We have a common opinion concerning those works, we have now a clear idea about its realization, and our work starts. This work mainly consists of extraction of oil and gas resources of Azerbaijan, construction of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and lining a gas pipeline from Baku to Turkey. Therefore, I am waiting with impatience for the discussions with you about our work, projects, carried out now, and also at what stage, at what level and in what condition is our business in Azerbaijan, in more detail.

Heydar Aliyev: Perfect. I have been waiting for it for a long time. Some months ago, your representatives, mister Woodword, the president of Azerbaijan International Operation Company and your representative on "Shahdeniz" deposit, held here a big presentation ceremony. They have presented me, members of our government, and also all public the useful, detailed information on carrying out works and the further prospects. However, now we have an opportunity to discuss this issue with you in more detail. First, we will talk about the forthcoming works on deposits "Azeri", "Chirag" and "Guneshli", secondly, about a gas deposit "Shahdeniz", third, about construction of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline and, at last, about export of gas from Baku to Turkey.

As signing the contract with you in 1994, we thought only of deposits "Azeri", "Chirag", "Guneshli". Two years later, in 1996, we showed interest in the deposit "Shahdeniz". Now our country has opportunities for export of gas. At that time, it was only the assumption. Now it has turned into a reality. As you know, in realization of this work we have faced with many difficulties, obstacles. We face with them as well as today.

As you know, construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan export pipeline has met a number of problems. That is, we didn`t have these problems, but other countries cooperating with us. We have made certain concessions in order to help Georgia related to this question. However, now it is necessary to begin and carry out construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, at the same time a gas pipeline.

You know what my observations show? When there is nothing or it is still very far, many people show interest in it. However, after realization of the question, in realization of a practical work, everyone unreasonably tries to get more profits. While the work has not started, they ask, address to us to carry out this work, they try very much. However, when the work becomes reality, they say supposedly it is impossible to do it or say, let`s find another way. We witnessed it during realization of the project of Baku-Ceyhan. And now we see it concerning a gas pipeline. However, this is not a problem for us, we carry out our work.

Already you, BP, having all information of the last years, see that we go on a correct way. If you remember, several years ago there were disputes - Baku-Ceyhan should be realized or not. Even your people unanimously said why Baku-Ceyhan, let`s expand the pipeline going to Supsa and then we will see. I am not speaking about everybody. I am speaking about some companies entering into a consortium. However, we did not change our position. We said that Baku-Ceyhan should have been constructed. And now you say also it should be constructed. I know, you explain to other countries that it is a real project. And consequently, I consider that all our further work will be successful. Today we should discuss together with you all questions, and then start forthcoming stage of the work.

John Brown: Mister President, thank you very much for these ideas. I remember the meeting with you very well. Nearly two and a half years ago we met you at the conference held in Davos. Then we have discussed a question on Baku-Ceyhan. I remember well, then you have declared us with the same determination and desire that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline should have been necessarily carried out. If you remember, at that time I have agreed with you. However, our unique problem in this business was that others disagreed with this question. You see, we have waste too much time to make those people to come to an agreement.

We have tried to explain to them that it was only a correct way from the commercial point of view, from the viewpoint of protection of the environment, care of an environment, and also from the viewpoint of correct selection of a route. I believe that a time will come and those who, have not joined this project, will regret that they have not come to an agreement from the very beginning.

Heydar Aliyev: Right. 

John Brown: Even though they did not join us, at the present moment we have sufficient force. There are enough parties participating here which can turn this work into a reality. I trust in it, it is such an opportunity that there is no necessity to ask others to join the project, to participate in it. On the contrary, we consider that there is necessity for them to join this work. I think that if they want to join this work, we will welcome it. That is, if these people now express desire to join this project, - certainly, on the basis of our right conditions, - we would welcome them. We consider that now it is suitable time for them to join it.

Today in the morning, we, with mister Woodword and mister Birrell, that is, with presidents of BP Azerbaijan, directly got acquainted with a condition of our works in Azerbaijan, Georgia and as well as in Turkey. I am rather satisfied with that close cooperation is at a good level between BP and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan as previous times.

I am sure that now we carry out general looking at these projects, practical work for joint activity is at such a level that we can cope with inevitable problems which will rise before us in implementation of two large projects - construction of both oil and gas pipelines.

If we consider any country, these projects can be compared with the largest projects of the world. From the viewpoint of a present condition of works, we plan to invest approximately 13 billion dollars within five years in these projects. We will use a number of labor force in implementation of these projects. Its most part will be basically from Azerbaijan. It will mean mobilization of all-round potential, labor force, skills and competence in Azerbaijan. That is, I mean, on the one hand instructing of workers, increase of their competence and skill, and on the other hand - mobilization and use of all forces in management of the project.

I consider that we can cope with all forthcoming difficulties. That is, it is possible to cope with these difficulties. Our good cooperation with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan will continue. I am sure that we will have this cooperation as well as in the future. We will manage to solve all difficulties owing to this cooperation and also as a result of cooperation between the contractors with which we will work together in Georgia and Turkey.

I must also tell that I welcome creation of Ministries of Fuel and Energy in Azerbaijan. I think that it will promote our work. If I speak about internal condition, work of our company in Azerbaijan, I can tell that I am satisfied with that. They have faith in their work, and it is a basis for their success.

Within the limits of my visit, I visited Turkey. I met the President of Turkey mister Ahmet Nejdet Sezer. Then, taking advantage of this opportunity, I also visited Georgia, met the President mister Shevardnadze. I openly stated my opinion to all of them. As if my opinion was reached to the public. It consists of that we have reached such a stage of our work which is already turning point. We are on the eve of taking extremely important step, we experience very important moment. That is, we are on the eve of implementation of large-scale oil and gas projects, and also projects of pipelines. I distinctly explained to them that it was now turning point of our work. I told them that it was also the moment which is necessary to celebrate. That is to say, it is such a moment, of which we should celebrate.

Heydar Aliyev: Right. I completely share your opinion. We have always moved with you in one direction and our opinions are the same.

I am pleased with that in comparison with the previous times you already carry out practical measures concerning large-scale implementation of these works. It is too important for me. Because about two-three years ago, the mood was a little bit somewhat different. Someone agreed, someone did not agree. The American companies alleged that Baku-Ceyhan was not necessary, but we considered it necessary. And you did not know what to do. Now, in these days some pro-Armenian congressmen in the United States of America, who takes a position of hostility to Azerbaijan, have sent a letter to President George Bush in which they alleged that the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline should not be realized, or it should pass through Armenia. I think, you have heard about it. However at the same time, in my opinion, in today`s newspaper "New York Times" Baku-Ceyhan has got great support. You see, there are those who still try to put pressure, want to impede it. But, now you have a great confidence to this work and you have already started realization of concrete works. Now you said that within several years you plan to invest 13 billion dollars of capital in realization of these projects, it will make all silent.

John Brown: Mister President, I completely agree with you. You are absolutely right. I wish to inform that on the last Friday, I met vice-president Cheney and spoke with him about the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. As it seems to me, from this side, actively support is shown to both this project and the project of a gas pipeline, on which it is planned transportation of the Azerbaijan gas to Turkey. During negotiations, discussions both with the President of Turkey, and with other Turkish representatives, I was convinced that the Turkish side also actively supported these projects. Support, which I have felt from the Turkish side, concerns not only an oil pipeline, but also a gas pipeline. I have understood from the conversations that they wish to transport gas, which will be transported from Azerbaijan to Europe through territory of Turkey. Despite negotiations on a gas pipeline still proceed in Georgia, I understood that Georgia also considers this pipeline so important for itself.

Mister President, I always trusted and now I trust that trading relations can make changes to all other relations, can influence them. Therefore, I hope that you, mister President, using this opportunity, both from your post, and from your authority, will tell your word in establishment of very necessary, important stability in this region and you will create it. Regional stability is the most important condition for each person who wishes to invest a capital. If it is attained, I believe, these investments will become successful. Besides it will open such ample opportunities, which will involve new investments in region, including in Azerbaijan.

Heydar Aliyev: Right. The US President Mister George Bush has written detailed letter to me when he started his activity of presidency. After that he has sent me other letter on the occasion of holding Baku oil-and-gas exhibition in the beginning of this month. In these letters, he has absolutely openly declared that the administration of the United States of America gives great value to Azerbaijan, supports exploitation of oil and gas deposits of Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea. In these letters he especially marks and supports the questions on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan main export pipeline and transportation of the Azeri gas to Turkey. That is, there are no divergences in opinions in this question between us and administration of the United States of America. However, as you know, there are also some people impeding us. I am not speaking about it not because people, impeding us, can achieve something. No, they can achieve nothing. But in fact they try. However, we do not worry, and nobody can impede us. But now there are some people who make needless conversation.

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