The foundation we laid with the contract of the century creates favorable conditions for the strengthening of the state sovereignty of independent Azerbaijan, the development and happy life of the people of the country in the 21st century. I believe that the 21st century will be the happiest period for the independent state of Azerbaijan.

Heydar Aliyev

Heydar Aliyev's return to the government by the request of the people in 1993 laid the foundation for the important changes in the political and economic life of Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev who managed to avert the great disasters in Azerbaijan initiated the conduction of measures for the economic growth of the country as well. Vice President of SOCAR Ilham Aliyev has been involved in the process of negotiations since the very beginning and he became the most active participant in the said process. He adhered to the following brief and strong idea in his activity: "Our objective is not only to produce oil, to transport it and get incomes. We must use the oil, political, economic and other incomes to ensure the interests and welfare of the people.

The numerous meetings and negotiations in which he participated were conducted under the said slogan. Certainly, a number of difficulties and obstacles also existed. The last stages pf the negotiations related to the contract of the century in Istanbul and Huston in spring and summer of 1994 were the hardest ones. Sometimes the crisis occurred and the negotiations reached suspension due to the non-acceptance of definite provisions. Ilham Aliyev recalles the following: "We said the foreign companies: You protect interests of different companies and we protect the interests of the Azerbaijani people. If you do a mistake it will affect only a project of your company but in case, we do a mistake that will cause harm to the people of Azerbaijan. On other words we must not do mistakes". Despite all the difficulties the contract was worked out in conformity with the national interests of Azerbaijan.

A production sharing agreement on the joint development of deep water reserves of Azeri, Chyrag and Guneshli was signed at the Gulistan Palace in Baku September 20, 1994. The contract was called the contract of the century due to its historical, political and international importance and was reflected in 400 pages and 4 languages. It included 13 leading oil companies (AMOCO, BP, McDermott, UNOCAL, SOCAR, LUKOIL, Statoil, Exxon, Turkish Petrol, Pensoil, Itochu, Remco, Delta) from 8 countries of the world (Azerbaijan, USA, Great Britain, Russia, Turkey, Norway, Japan and Saudi Arabia). Thus the new oil strategy and its doctrine was initiated successfully. The contract of the century was ratified by the Milli Medjlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and came into effect on December 12, 1994. Oil reserves proposed to be produced at the initial stage amounted to 511 million tons yet the indicator reached the level of 730 million tons and due to that the investments in the development of the field amounted to USD 11.5 billion with Azerbaijan accounting for 80% and investors-for 20% of all finds.

The International Operating company was established in the first days of the contract of the century and started its conjoint activity with SOCAR in accordance with its ratified program. Later the contract promoted the signing of 26 contacts with 41 oil companies from 19 countries of the world. The contract of the century was included into the list of the largest documents concluded in the world for the volume of hydrocarbon reserves and investments. USD 57.6 out of 64 billion stipulated for the development of oil industry in Azerbaijan went for the assimilation of the offshore fields and conduction of exploration on the prospective structures.

Significant changes occurred in the economics of Azerbaijan since the commencement of the contract of the century and great works were carried out. First of all, in frames of the project of oil production Chyrag-1 was restored in accordance with the modern standards in 1995 and the upper module of the said plant was modernized and equipped with new technologies for the drilling of richer wells. The new drilling plant enabled to drill horizontal plants. The wells A-18 (with the depth of 550 meters), A-19 (with the depth of over 6300 meters) drilled with the maximal propensity started operating with the high production of oil. The first tanker load of Azeri profit oil sailed to the world in December of 1999. The currency received from the sales of oil went to the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan established by national leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev and serves the people of the country.

Azerbaijan, once again proving its independence with the "Contract of the Century", has demonstrated its full potential to the world. It is no coincidence that during the solemn ceremony dedicated to the signing of the "Contract of the Century", the great leader Heydar Aliyev said: "By taking such a step, we demonstrate that Azerbaijan is an open country for the world, the world economy. By signing this agreement, we once again demonstrate to the world that the sovereign rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan are established, Azerbaijan is fully independent, and our people own their wealth. By signing this agreement, we establish relations with the Republic of Azerbaijan and developed countries of the world and their largest companies... By signing this contract, we open the way for foreign investors to invest in Azerbaijan”. Despite instability of period when “Contract of the Century” was signed, president Ilham Aliyev apreciated the importance of this step.  "The "Contract of the Century" has a special place in the history of Azerbaijan and this role is irreplaceable in the life of Azerbaijan as an independent country. At that time, we had neither the means nor the resources. There is still a decline in the industry in the country, the economy has almost collapsed. It was very difficult to survive for an independent country. Our independence was almost under suspicion. In those years a great deal of political experience, knowledge and skill were required to invest in Azerbaijan, to present Azerbaijan as a reliable partner to the world, creating favorable conditions for foreign investors, as well as to protect fully the state interests of the country. At that time, the cooperation of Azerbaijan with foreign companies was unequivocal in the region. The signing of the "Contract of the Century" required great political courage. However, we have succeeded it with the determination of Heydar Aliyev and the support of the Azerbaijani people”.






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