"Contract of the Century" – successful path started with signature of Heydar Aliyev
"Contract of the Century", signed 25 years ago, is of great importance for Azerbaijan's progress. The importance of the project over the past period and its role in the formation of Azerbaijan as an independent state has undoubtedly been emphasized. However, this successful path, signed by the great leader Heydar Aliyev, increases its importance year by year.
MP Azer Badamov pointed out that today marks the 25th anniversary of the historic "Contract of the Century", which was signed on September 20, 1994. "The 25 years since this historic event have been the years of development and renaissance in Azerbaijan. Speaking about the importance of the "Contract of the Century" for our country, we need to approach it through political, economic and social prisms. Because when the Contract of the Century was signed in 1994, Azerbaijan was not known to the world. When Azerbaijan was mentioned at international events, everyone was wondering where this country was. Due to increased internal and external conflicts, Azerbaijan, which had just gained independence, was as a place where transnational companies are skeptical in the international arena. But as a result of the foresight, experience and will of the great leader Heydar Aliyev, his conviction of the world's leading oil companies, ideas and imaginations about Azerbaijan were eliminated and the historic "Contract of the Century" was signed. In a short period of time, political stability in Azerbaijan was ensured, and our country became well-known in the world," the MP said.
Speaking about the economic side of the agreement, he noted, it is important to make an excursion to the economy of Azerbaijan before the signing of the "Contract of the Century”. "The state budget of Azerbaijan, which gained independence in 1991, was soon released. The legacy of the Soviets was also plundered by the government in 1991-1993. Contracts that businesses had made during the Soviet era were expired, and the industry was in a state of paralysis because new contracts were not concluded. But after the signing of the "Contract of the Century" in 1994, billions of dollars of investment have become the locomotive of our economy. The signing of the "Contract of the Century" has allowed hundreds of billions of dollars to invest in the country's economy. As a result, today Azerbaijan has become a country with a diversified economy. At the same time, our currency reserves have reached $ 50 billion,” said Badamov.
According to the MP, the social aspect of the contract is even wider. "The "Contract of the Century" served to improve the material and social welfare of the country's population. Unemployment and poverty have fallen from 50% to 5%. Supply of drinking water has been increased from 20% to 70%. 96 percent of the country's population has been provided with natural gas. More than 3,500 new schools and kindergartens have been built. More than 640 healthcare facilities have been reconstructed. In particular, the income of the population has increased many times. All this have been achieved thanks to the signing of the "Contract of the Century". I would also like to note that the "Contract of the Century" has been extended to 2050, and for many years our oil and gas reserves will continue to serve the development of our country and the welfare of our people," he noted.
Chairman of Baku Club of Political Scientists, Zaur Mammadov, said that the signing of the "Contract of the Century" on exploration and development of the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli offshore oil and gas field on September 20, 1994 was an extraordinary event. "It was a strategic target. It was the philosophy of Heydar Aliyev that plotted the trajectory of Azerbaijan's development for the next century. The "Contract of the Century" provided a precondition for the growth of oil revenues in the economy of Azerbaijan shortly. This agreement allowed Azerbaijan to take part not only in regional projects, but also to play an important role in Europe's energy security. On November 12, 1997, three years after the signing of the "Contract of the Century", the first oil was produced. Azerbaijan, as a region with rich oil and gas reserves, plays an important role in ensuring regional and international energy security. Azerbaijan, which signed strategically important, forward-looking oil contracts with the world's leading energy companies in the mid-1990s, has been pursuing a strategic line based on national interests, in parallel with the transportation of oil and gas resources to foreign markets. This line is based on the principle of having multiple energy transportation routes and not being dependent on any route,” he said.
Mammadov stressed that the "Contract of the Century" also plays an important role in the implementation of new transnational energy projects. "Thanks to the political will and determination of President Ilham Aliyev, pursuing Heydar Aliyev's oil strategy, new projects led by Azerbaijan have led to the increase of the economic power of our country and its political weight in the world arena. Among these new projects, it is worth mentioning the Southern Gas Corridor, which plays an important role in the transportation of Azerbaijani gas to Europe,” he said.
The chairman noted that the revenues from the "Contract of the Century" have been directed to social projects, the development of science, education and culture. "Thus 'black gold' was replaced by 'human capital'. Although Azerbaijan is a small country geographically, it is engaged in large, global projects. Implementation of these global projects may be perceived as easy, but is a very difficult process in fact. It is important to emphasize the impact, pressure and barriers that global players and individual interests have on the implementation of regional projects. A strong will and well-thought-out strategic policy have always been essential to the implementation of such projects in our region. It is no coincidence that the last two years, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, North-South, TAP, TANAP and other global projects that have been implemented thanks to the will of President Ilham Aliyev are met with considerable jealousy by the unwilling forces, including the Armenians. These forces have tried to obstruct the implementation of energy and transport projects led by Azerbaijan, but they have not been successful,” he added.