Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of SOCAR carbamide plant in Sumgayit
16 january 2019, 10:35
A very significant event for the history of our country is taking place today. We are celebrating the opening of a carbamide plant in Sumgayit and I sincerely congratulate you on this occasion.
The establishment of this plant is a very significant and important event. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who participated in the construction of the plant. I am told that more than 3,000 people worked here at peak, the absolute majority of whom are citizens of Azerbaijan. This testifies to the fact that a powerful personnel potential has been created in Azerbaijan – both workers and specialists. This is a clear example of the attention being paid to the field of education in recent years.
Foreign partners took part in the construction of the plant. Korean company Samsung is the general contractor. Companies from Denmark and the Netherlands have fitted the plant with the most sophisticated equipment. A Finnish company provided the necessary advice on the operation of the plant. In other words, we are seeing a positive example of international cooperation here. It also shows that Azerbaijan is a very attractive country for foreign companies. This is an excellent industrial enterprise created as a result of joint efforts.
I should also note that foreign banks have played a fairly large role in the establishment of the plant. Starting the construction of the plant, we initially invested our own money. Then foreign banks granted loans. I also want to express my gratitude to all the banks that provided financial support.
Thus, an excellent large-scale industrial enterprise has been created in our country. It meets modern standards. This plant is the biggest project implemented in the field of non-oil industry in Azerbaijan. According to the information available to me, the plant will produce 650,000 tons of carbamide per annum. Most of it will be exported. At the same time, domestic demand will be met as well because we are still buying fertilizer abroad and spend large volumes of currency. Considering that the Azerbaijani state pays 70 percent of the cost of fertilizer provided to farmers, it is not difficult to imagine the financial burden this represents for our budget. Now we will provide our farmers with the highest quality of fertilizer ourselves.
The plant is also special because the products used as raw material here are natural gas, local products. In other words, there is no foreign component in carbamide. A total of 450 million cubic meters of natural gas will be used here annually. If we sold natural gas to foreign markets at current prices, we could earn about $80 million from that. The cost of products to be made in the form of carbamide will be $150-160 million. So we have actually double the efficiency and created an excellent exportable product for our country. We have created local fertilizers for agricultural development and made a great contribution to the country's non-oil industry. So the launch of the plant pursues these basic goals. We have managed to achieve all these goals.
I am very pleased that the non-oil sector is growing fast in our country. Last year, there was an increase of 9.1 percent. This indicates that the process of industrialization is going well. Last summer, the first phase of SOCAR Polymer began operating in Sumgayit. Its second phase will start functioning this year. Excellent exportable products will also be produced there. At the same time, domestic sales of finished products made from polypropylene and polyethylene will begin. Again, we will eliminate our dependence on imports. Hundreds of new jobs are being created at these plants. I am told that 500 jobs will be created at the carbamide plant. The vast majority of people working here are local citizens and most of them are young. The average age of people working there is about 30-35 years. This is the result of the work done. Such large enterprises are of great importance for the successful development of our country. The development of the non-oil sector will continue to be our priority. As I have already noted, a 9.1 percent increase in the non-oil industry is a very good indicator.
Of course, when Azerbaijan implements these projects together with foreign partners, our international relations are also strengthened. Today, Azerbaijan is a country receiving foreign investments. Besides, banks are happy to allocate funds to us because they know that these funds will not be wasted. They know that Azerbaijan has sufficiently large financial resources. Our financial resources and reserves exceed the external debt 4.5 times. Such a favorable situation allows us the opportunity to attract partners and foreign banks. At the same time, our policy is to reduce our external debt. Last year, our external public debt fell from 22.8 to 19 percent. This year it will decline even more.
I am very glad that this wonderful enterprise has been established in Sumgayit. Sumgayit is the second largest industrial city not only in Azerbaijan but also in the South Caucasus. A lot has been done to strengthen the industrial potential of Sumgayit. The Sumgayit Technology Park and the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park have been established on my initiative. The carbamide plant became a resident of the park in 2017. Currently, there are 18 residents in the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park. Of these, 10 are already in operation and the 11th, the carbamide plant, has already begun functioning. The total volume of investment in the Sumgayit Chemical Industry Park and the investment to be made here amounts to about $3 billion. This strengthens the industrial and economic potential of Sumgayit and serves to create jobs. Great work is being done for the overall development of Sumgayit, including the improvement of its environmental situation. Sumgayit today is a city of parks, squares and alleys. There is a beautiful boulevard. The roofing of buildings is being renovated. In general, the modern appearance of Sumgayit is very positive. This plant is also very environmentally friendly. I am told that there will be no air pollutants here.
Thus, the creation of this plant is a major event. Once again, I congratulate all our citizens who took part in the construction, all those who played an active part in this work. Thank you!
I should also note that the opening of this plant coincides with the birthday of Khoshbakht Yusifzade. On behalf of all the people of Azerbaijan, I want to congratulate Khoshbakht on this wonderful event. Khoshbakht is a living legend of the oil industry, its symbol, a symbol of an Azerbaijani citizen. I specifically asked for Khoshbakht to be invited here today to congratulate him and to celebrate this wonderful event together.
I congratulate you again and I wish you continued success. Thank you!