Thursday, September 29, 2005
11 Years since Signing of "Contract of the Century"
Baku Today /Assa Irada 21/09/2005 18:39 - The 11th anniversary of the "Contract of the Century" was marked in Azerbaijan on Tuesday. In 1994, Azerbaijan gained its ‘economic independence', as official Baku signed the first-ever document on joint development of oil fields in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea. Talks on the development of Caspian oil fields started in the 1980s when the existing Soviet technologies did not allow extracting oil at a water depth of over 100 meters. Considering this, former Soviet Union's ministry of oil industry issued instructions on operation of the Azeri, Chirag and Gunashli fields in the Caspian Sea jointly with foreign oil companies. The talks on the issue were suspended in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed but resumed after Azerbaijan got independence. Moreover, the alternatives of taking Azerbaijan's oil to the world markets were discussed. The contract on joint development of the Azeri, Chirag and Gunashli fields was signed on September 20, 1994, despite the unstable political environment in the country and its being in a state of war. Azerbaijan's nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev contributed greatly to the signing of the document. Despite challenges, he managed to convince the West that the terms of the contract would be implemented. The future processes proved that this was not just a promise. Later, the late Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev signed a decree on celebrating September 20 as the day of oilworkers every year.