Autumn 1996 (4.3)
by Einar Bergh, Government and Public Affairs Manager for AIOC
Effective July 30, 1996, the percentage shares of the partner companies of AIOC have changed once again due to one partner's desire to sell some of its investment. Pennzoil recently had organized to sell 5% of its 9.8175% shares to Itochu. However, AIOC's regulations of "first right of refusal to earlier partner companies" resulted in this percentage being split three ways: Exxon bought 3.0006%, Itochu 1.4705% and Unocal 0.5289%. Itochu had previously acquired McDermott's entire share of 2.45%, bringing its accumulated share to 3.9205%.
Petrofac and McConnell Dowell
In July, AIOC awarded Petrofac and McConnell Dowell (joint venture) a contract to refurbish the existing pipeline and lay new line along the Northern Export Pipeline Route inside Azerbaijan. (The pipeline continues beyond the Azerbaijani border into Russia to the Black Sea Port of Novorossiysk.)
Specifically, Petrofac and McConnell Dowell will construct approximately 26 km in two segments. One segment will extend from Sangachal Terminal and Pump Station to a tie-in with the existing Guzdak-to-Akstafa Products Line which will be converted to crude oil service. This work is approximately 12 km long; the diameter of the pipeline of both connecting segments is 530 mm.
A second segment will extend from the Guzdak-to-Akstafa Products Line to an interconnection with the crude oil pipeline near Sumgayit. This is a larger line with a diameter of 720 mm. This section is approximately 14 km in length.
Petrofac and McConnell will also work on rehabilitating the existing pipeline to Russia. Once again the work will be done in two sections. The first is a 31 km section (530 mm) Guzdak-to-Akstafa Products Line, and the second is a 174 km section (720 mm) crude oil line from Sumgayit to the Russian border. This line was in service until 1993, and the south section remains in operation. All of these sections will be hydrostatically tested.
The contract work will involve Azgur and SOCAR as local subcontractors who will provide equipment and personnel to support Petrofac and McConnell. The contract is expected to take seven months and employ more than 200 people.
Sangachal Oil Terminal
AIOC awarded the contract for civil works at the Sangachal Terminal to a partnership between the German firm Gabeg and Azerpromstroy. The work will include all site preparation, all equipment and tank foundations, underground pipe work, and concrete and structural steel work. The total value of this unit rate contract is expected to be approximately $6-7 million.
The work will be done mostly by Azerpromstroy employees with management support from Gabeg. The contract duration is 12 months and will employ 30-40 people in the beginning, 80-90 for the majority of the project, and peak at 200, which includes suppliers.
Appraisal Drilling Program
The Kaspmorneft semi-submersible drilling rig has been refurbished by the American firm Santa Fe International. The work was completed at the SPS Yard, and the rig left for its offshore work place in the beginning of September. Sante Fe will carry out the three-well appraisal drilling program. Originally built by Rauma Reppola in Finland, the rig was transported by barge in three pieces and assembled on the shores of the Caspian where it began service in 1980. Leased from SOCAR, AIOC is in discussions to sub-lease it to other operators in the Caspian Sea during periods when it is not needed.
When the refurbishment was completed and the rig re-commissioned, the crews which had been working on it vacated the nearby AIOC Operations Camp. As they headed out the door, new international contractor crews, who will be working on the pipelines, checked in. Close to the full use of the camp's 150-bed capacity is expected to be the norm from now on.
On August 24, the Kaspmorneft rig was officially renamed "Dede Gorgud" by President Heydar Aliyev in a ceremony on board. ("Dede Gorgud" is the name of the first known literary epic of the region. Stories relate to the Caucasus and Turkey of the 8th-12th centuries. The earliest written copies of the work date back to the 15th century. Some sections of the epic are often compared to Homer's Greek "Odyssey.") The same day, he officially opened Villa Petrolea II, the name of AIOC's main office building in Baku. Historically, Villa Petrolea was the name of the residence of the Nobel Brothers who were so productive in oil in Baku at the turn of the last century.
A huge Antonov 124 aircraft touched down in Baku late July 16, 1996, with the largest cargo of booms, skimmers and related oil spill containment gear ever airlifted anywhere in the world. Briggs Marine Environmental Service Limited of Scotland organized the 100-ton shipment to AIOC. On May 24, AIOC had awarded Briggs the $7.7 million contract. The equipment was transported from the airport to AIOC's warehouse near the SPS Yard in seven large trucks, but not before Neil McArthur, Briggs Group Commercial Manager, put on his Scottish kilt and played his bagpipe, signaling the go-ahead. Briggs Chairman Robin Briggs came along on the flight to see that the equipment was safely delivered to AIOC.
Third Public Environmental Meeting
On July 15, 1996, AIOC held its third public meeting to discuss its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. Specific focus was placed on (1) the Northern pipeline route from the future Sangachal Terminal to the Russian border and (2) the offshore production on the Chirag I platform. The public meeting was held in the Academy of Sciences Presidium Building. Dr. Liz Rogers and Einar Tresselt, AIOC's VP of HSE, led the discussion.
AIOC at Norwegian Oil Conference
Terry Adams, AIOC President, was one of the main speakers at the Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) Exhibition and Conference in late August in Stavanger, Norway. While there, he spoke at the World Energy Cities Meeting and at a seminar organized by the Norwegian Ministry of Industry and Energy. Azerbaijan's Acting Prime Minister Artur Rasizade and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hasan Hasanov led a delegation from Baku, which participated at the ONS.
Support to Education
This year AIOC has awarded scholarships to 20 outstanding students from Baku State Oil Academy, which is recognized as one of the largest and best university-level petroleum institutes in the world. AIOC is anticipating that many of these scholarship recipients will be candidates for future employment with AIOC.
AIOC also sponsored a program called "Excellence in Teaching," which was designed to stimulate innovative teaching methods in Baku's school system by providing monetary awards to the best teachers. The criteria for the awards were based on the teacher's level of proficiency and flexibility in adopting new teaching methods.
Also, prizes were given to two schools which had achieved the highest educational standards. Prizes went to School No. 249 (Khatai District) and No. 239 (Sabail District).
This was the first time in many years that the Education Office in the Baku City Administration had arranged such a competition. Mr. Jahangirov, Director of the Education Department, presented certificates to the best teachers, and AIOC's Government and Public Affairs Manager Einar Bergh presented the prizes. Education Minister Lydia Rasulova also attended and participated in the ceremony.
Cultural Programs Continue
The AIOC/SOCAR Community Concerts continue to be one of the highlights in the cultural life of the city. The May Concert was somewhat unusual. The Azerbaijani band Asynchro performed a soft rock concert together with the Irish band Pure. The audience was considerably younger than usual and ended up dancing in the aisles and on stage during Pure's performance. The concert took place in the Shahriyar Cultural Center in Baku.
The June Concert celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Gara Garayev State Chamber Orchestra. Rasi Abdullayev, Azerbaijan's leading cellist, performed Vivaldi's "Concerto for Two Celli, Harpsichord and Orchestra." He was joined by fellow cellist Ilaha Aliyeva and harpsichordist Samira Ashumova. Yashar Imanov conducted the Chamber Orchestra. Cellist Abdullayev had previously studied in Baku under the well-known "Misha" Rostropovich.
Another feature of the evening was a performance by Murad Adigezalzade. In May, Adigezalzade had competed in the AIOC-sponsored "Young Musician of the Year" piano competition, which was held at the Music Academy and tied First Prize in the 16-25-year-old category.
Adigezalzade first performed Gara Garayev's "Suite Prelude" and then Farhad Badalbeyli's "The Sea." Badalbeyli, Rector of the Music Academy, was on hand to direct the orchestra, himself.
Coming in September, for the second year in a row, AIOC will sponsor the National Mugham Competition. The Finalists' Concert will take place September 20, in the Mugham Club restaurant, a restored caravanserai near Maiden's Tower.
From Azerbaijan International (4.3) Autumn 1996.
© Azerbaijan International 1996. All rights reserved.