Azerbaijan is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, transforming itself in a few years from a war-ravaged backwater into an increasingly assertive presence on the regional stage. Its emergence can largely be attributed to its hydrocarbon resources, marshalled by the government-owned State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar).
Now Socar aims to play a central role in the diversification of gas supplies to Europe. Continue reading »
As the guardian of the nation’s oil windfall, Azerbaijan’s state oil fund has traditionally been a highly conservative investor. But as the global economic slowdown takes the shine off fixed income instruments, Sofaz has embarked on a quest for higher yields. After a first foray into gold and European luxury real estate last year, the fund is sizing up the property market in southeast Asia. Continue reading »
It’s not often a story links Mexico and Azerbaijan. But here’s a hilarious tale of what went wrong when Baku put up a statue in Mexico City to its late lamented president, the former KGB boss Heydar Aliyev.
It comes courtesy of Slate. To read on, click here. Continue reading »
For some truly daring frontier market investors Azerbaijan is beginning to look interesting, as a report in Monday’s FTfm explains.
There is no doubt that it has long term potential. In the 19th century Baku became known as the Black Gold Capital of the world and it remains rich in undeveloped petroleum resources. Its position in central Asia between the east and the west on the Caspian sea put it firmly on the old Silk Road and also gave it a rich trading history. Continue reading »
Total’s announcement this month of huge reserves at its offshore Absheron field in Azerbaijan does not on its own transform the European energy market.
At an estimated 150-300bn cubic metres (bcm), the gas field contains the equivalent of four to eight months of EU annual gas consumption.
But Total‘s news changes the picture for Azerbaijan, say experts, because it creates the tantalising possibility that the country could yield more such finds – and grow into a major gas source for the EU. Continue reading »
It seems unlikely that Butlins, ClubMed or Westin will branch into the hydrocarbons sector any time soon. But the State Oil and Company of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) is planning to invest €258m to turn a plot of military land in Montenegro into a tourist resort.
Even competitors say such a chunky investment in Montenegro’s tourism would be a boon for the tiny Balkan country, which is busily establishing itself as a holiday destination.
But it remains to be seen whether Socar will complete the deal – which has run into a legal challenge – let alone make it pay, given its lack of experience in international tourism. Continue reading »
A statement by a senior BP official this week that the Nabucco pipeline was a lost cause may not be the final word on the much-delayed project to bring Caspian gas to Europe. But the European Union is being optimistic if it thinks Nabucco is alive and kicking. If the project stands any chance of happening in the short term it will be much smaller than originally conceived. Continue reading »
Eurovision kicks off Tuesday night in Baku and the Azerbaijani capital is decked out to the nines. The city’s imported London taxis are emblazoned with Eurovision designs and traffic billboards tick down the days to the song contest’s finale on Saturday which the government says it has spent $100m preparing for.
As thousands of first-time tourists start to pour into Baku from continental Europe, the country’s ministry of culture and tourism is looking at the first big test – and advertisement – for the country’s nascent tourism industry. Continue reading »
ExxonMobil has just consummated its strategic partnership with Rosneft so it’s nice for BP, which failed last year in its attempt to tie up with the Russian state oil company, to have something positive to report.
The UK major announced plans on Tuesday to begin the design work for the second phase of the huge Shah Deniz gas project that will supply Caspian gas to European markets and help reduce their dependence on Russian energy supplies. Continue reading »
By Rob Minto and Pan Kwan Yuk
What to do when your domestic market is saturated and slow? Go overseas, of course. The question is when and how difficult a market to pick. For clothes retailer Gap, the answers seem to be: ‘now’ and ‘any’.
Gap is opening two stores in South Africa on Tuesday and Wednesday with wholesale partner Stuttafords in Johannesburg and Cape Town. And perhaps more adventurously, it plans to open in Lebanon, Georgia and Azerbaijan this year. Continue reading »
Azerbaijan traditionally plays safe with its oil windfall, buying mainly US bonds and treasury bills. But now the country is following a trend set by other sovereign wealth funds, and investing more adventurously in gold, real estate and private equities.
A lot of money is at stake. The state oil fund of Azerbaijan has accumulated more than $29bn since its foundation in 1999 as a storehouse for the country’s oil export revenues and earnings from transit pipeline fees. Continue reading »
The choice of Christmas day for the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Azerbaijan and Turkey for the construction of a new pipeline to carry Azeri gas to Europe, was quite possibly deliberate.
The signing of the MOU for the Trans Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) finally commits Azerbaijan to guaranteeing to supply gas from its Shah Deniz field to Europe via Turkey. Continue reading »
The US has always been a cheerleader for the planned Nabucco pipeline to carry Caspian gas to Europe to compete with Russian supplies. But as Nabucco’s search for gas producers to support the project wears into an eighth year, even Washington has begun to pipe down. Continue reading »