Caspian Policy Center Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the “Contract of the Century” in Washington.
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, the Caspian Policy Center held the Contract of the Century: Building on 25 Years of Success event at the historic Hall of Flags of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation located headquartered in Washington, D.C.
The policy, government, and business leaders from the U.S. and the Greater Caspian Region countries, including high-level government and energy officials both from the United States and Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan; representatives of the U.S. Department of State, Department of Energy; executives of companies such as BP, SOCAR, and Equinor; and officials from the Atlantic Council and Center for Strategic and International Studies came together at this event to discuss the future of the oil and gas industry in the Greater Caspian Region.
Efgan Nifti, Executive Director of the Caspian Policy Center, kick-started the forum with the welcome speech and mentioned the economic and geopolitical importance of the Contract of the Century that was signed 25 years ago in 1994.
“This contract made the Caspian oil endowments available to the world,” said Nifti mentioning successful oil pipeline projects that followed the Contact of the Century. “This forum celebrates the achievements in the Caspian Region’s oil sector since then and serves as a platform for establishing crucial business ties and promoting global energy dialogue. Through this event, we seek to foster new avenues and opportunities for mutual energy cooperation between the United States and the Greater Caspian Region,” he continued.
Robert F.Cekuta, CPC Board Member and former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan who was among the forum’s keynotes spoke about the economic role of the contract and its impact on the Caspian Region.
“This agreement has a much broader impact. It helped improve the economic well-being of the citizens of Azerbaijan,” former Ambassador noted.
H.E. Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States, talked about the importance of the “Contract of the Century” for Azerbaijan and the Caucuses region.
“Co-operation and development extends far beyond the initial commitment. This signals enormous commitment of Azerbaijan,” Ambassador Suleymanov shared with the forum attendees.
Mark W. Menezes, Under Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy, was among the forums keynotes speaking about the importance of the U.S. and Azerbaijani relations in the world energy market:
“Energy security provides economic prosperity and ensures national security. During 27 years of bilateral relations, Azerbaijan has become an important partner of the U.S., and we are looking forward to expanding this partnership.”
H.E. Parviz Shahbazov, Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan, talked about the important role Azerbaijan plays in the economic development of the Caspian region and how the Contract of the Century contributed this role.
“A new era began in Azerbaijan and in the region with the signing of the Contract of the Century 25 years ago. Thanks to this contract, Azerbaijan has been transformed from a country that was beginning to take its first fragile steps for the path of independence into the country that has a sustainable development path today.”
During the event, the Caspian Policy Center leadership presented to Francis R. Fannon, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources at U.S. Department of State, an award for his extraordinary work in the energy sector and Greater Caspian Region. “ Energy is more than bits and barrels. It is the foundation of political stability. That’s why it is a critical component of our foreign policy.”
Ambassador (ret.) Steven Mann, Senior Advisor at ExxonMobil; Bob Scher, Head of International Affairs at BP: Elshad Nassirov, Vice President of Investments and Marketing at SOCAR; Ambassador (ret.) Richard Morningstar, Director and Chairman of the Global Energy Center at the Atlantic Council; Edward Chow, Senior Associate of the Energy and National Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Tom Cunningham, Director of International Government Relations and Public Affairs at Equinor were among the high-profile panelists who spoke at the Forum about the role of energy projects and developing opportunities in the Caspian.
H.E. Elin Suleymanov, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the United States; Giorgi Tsikolia, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Georgia to the United States, Daulet Saudabayev, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Ambassador; Art McHaffie, former Executive Vice President at the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, and many more high-level diplomatic representatives attended the forum and shared their perspectives on the importance of the trans-Caspian energy pipelines and its benefits for both the United State and Caspian region.
Elshad Nassirov, VP of Investments and Marketing at SOCAR, was among the high-level energy executives who shared his perspective on the 25-years success of the “Contract of the Century” and what it means for the energy industry.
“This forum brings us to understanding that Azerbaijan and the U.S. are very close to each other in the energy industry and beyond. These two countries never used energy as a tool to dominate other countries. 25 years in the oil industry is not a big deal, but we celebrate the achievements as a result of this global important co-operation,” Mr. Nassirov shared with the forum guests. “This contract is essential for the energy industry, but more importantly, it is for Azerbaijan and its co-operation with foreign partners.”
About the Caspian Policy Center
The Caspian Policy Center (CPC) is an independent, nonprofit research think tank based in Washington D.C. Economic, political, energy and security issues of the Caspian region constitute the central research focus of the Center. CPC aims at becoming a primary research and debate platform in the Caspian region with relevant publications, events, projects and media productions to nurture a comprehensive understanding of the intertwined affairs of the Caspian region. With an inclusive, scholarly and innovative approach, the Caspian Policy Center presents a platform where diverse voices from academia, business and policy world from both the region and the nation’s capital interact to produce distinct ideas and insights to the outstanding issues of the Caspian region.