Focus on Azerbaijan   Leave a comment

azerbaijan1Azerbaijan may be the oldest petroleum producing region in the world, going back to the third and fourth centuries. Many Arabic and Persian authors refer to the production of oil on the Apsheron Peninsula.

Marco Polo also saw the oil. He commented that it was not good to eat, but understood that it could be used as a fuel or medicine.

There are also many 18th and 19th century accounts of the Zoroastrian Fire Temple at Surakhany, where the fire was fed by natural gas from a cavern.

Azeri oil “boomed” beginning in the 1870s. The ancient site of Surakhany retained its importance. Even though Russian capital predominated, foreign interests began to participate as well. British firms, in particular, were able to commence operations as a result of their purchase of operations from Hajji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev.

Production increased after the Revolution, and offshore exploration began. During the war, oil fields were staffed largely by women and veterans. The entire Caucasus region, particularly Baku, was of key strategic importance throughout the war.

After gaining its independence, Azerbaijan has sought-and been successful in obtaining-significant foreign investment not only for petroleum but other industries as well.

For example, the Shah Deniz field was discovered in 1999. A gas plant was built at Sangachal Termanal in 2007, and is now a leading gas producer.

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