Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the launching ceremony of the Khankendi subsea construction vessel
06 september 2017, 10:30
I want to congratulate you on this wonderful event. The commissioning of the Khankendi vessel is a truly historic event. I am glad that this giant ship has been built in Azerbaijan, in Baku. This vessel is named Khankendi. And this has a great meaning. Khankendi is our ancient city. The name of Khankendi is native and dear to us. It is no coincidence that this vessel, which meets unique global standards, has been given this name.
The construction of this vessel demonstrates the power of our country. It shows that any large construction work can be carried out in Azerbaijan today. The construction and commissioning of this vessel also show that our decision to build a shipyard was the right one. By making this decision at that time and allocating major investment for the construction of this plant, we pursued this very goal – for Azerbaijan to be capable of building vessels of any type. The construction of this vessel also shows that there is no vessel we could not build at this shipyard. Currently, four new vessels are also under construction – two ferries and two tankers.
The construction of the Khankendi vessel cost about $400 million. And this shows the power of our state. This vessel will make an irreplaceable contribution to the development of the Shah Deniz gas field.
According to the information provided to me today, there are only 10 vessels of this type in the world. One of them is in Azerbaijan and was built in Azerbaijan. Most of the crew that will work on this ship are Azerbaijani specialists. In other words, along with the construction of the vessel, trainings and preparatory work was carried out, and today both the ship's captain and the majority of its crew are local personnel.
I want to say again that this is a very significant and historic event. The development of the Shah Deniz gas field is a strategic project for us. I am glad that things are going well in this direction. I am told that preparatory work for Shah Deniz-2 gas field is currently at 96 per cent. It is possible to say that this project has already been implemented. Without this vessel, it would be impossible to develop Shah Deniz with great efficiency.
We are doing all this work in a consistent manner. Investments have been made and work with foreign partners is properly organized. Platforms, floating installations, such giant vessels, the Sangachal terminal, oil and gas pipelines are built in Azerbaijan. Major investments have been made in the oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan in a comprehensive, thoughtful and planned manner. Today we are seeing the result of that. I should note the joint activities of BP and SOCAR. As a result of this cooperation, some historic achievements have already become a reality in the oil and gas sector of Azerbaijan.
I appreciate the activities of the Caspian Shipping Company. The activities of the shipping company meet international standards. The shipping company already works with a profit and pays large amounts in tax into our budget. So the successful development of the transport and energy infrastructure makes a great contribution to the overall development of our country.
You are probably aware that there will be a signing of a new contract for the Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli field in a few days. We will continue working on this field until 2050. This shows again that Azerbaijan has very large oil reserves.
I remember that some forces that do not like us both inside the country and abroad were saying before the signing of the Contract of the Century in 1994 that there was not enough oil in Azerbaijan, in Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli. There is no need for the construction of an oil pipeline because it will stay empty. We have been extracting oil and gas from Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli for 20 years now. Production began there in 1997. Twenty years on, a new contract is being signed, and oil will be produced from Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli at the proper level until 2050. This is an answer to those pessimistic and prejudiced opinions. At the same time, it shows that our country has very large energy potential.
As for Shah Deniz, gas reserves in this field account for at least 1.2 trillion cubic meters. This is one of the largest gas fields in the world. In general, our gas resources constitute 2.6 trillion cubic meters. In other words, Azerbaijan will provide both itself and many countries with natural gas for at least another 100 years.
I want to congratulate the people of Azerbaijan on this historic event. I want to congratulate all our citizens and specialists who participated in the construction of this vessel. I want to express my gratitude to them. I also want to express my confidence that the Khankendi vessel will play a valuable role in the development of the Shah Deniz field and contribute to the strengthening of our country. Thank you.