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Oil history of Azerbaijan

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VIII century

Arab historian Abu-Ishaq-al-Istahri reported that the people of Baku used oil soaked in the ground for heating when there was no firewood.

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X century

Arab historian and traveller Ahmed al-Belaruri noted the economic reliance of Absheron region on oil since ancient times.

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XIII-XIV centuries

Venetian merchant and traveller Marco Polo indicated that oil from Absheron was being exported to the Middle East. According to him, the oil was widely used for lighting. He also described the use of oil as an unguent for therapeutic healing.

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1594

An inscription on stone found in Balakhany shows that the 35-metre-deep oil well was dug by Allahyar Mammadnur, a driller.

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1647

The export of Baku oil to Iran, Central Asia, Türkiye and India was mentioned by an Ottoman Turkish traveller and geographer Evliya Çelebi in his Seyahetname (“Book of Travel”).

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1683

Engelbert Kaempfer, a German traveller, physician and naturalist visited the Absheron Peninsula and made notes about oil fields in the villages of Balakhany, Binagadi and Surakhany.

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1739

Veitbrecht published an article, "About Oil", which contained considerable information about oil on Absheron.

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1837

In Balakhany, Nikolay Voskoboynikov’s industrial oil processing plant became operational. For the first time in the world, the method of steam distillation of oil was applied in this plant, and oil was heated by burning natural gas.

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1846

At the suggestion of Vasiliy Semyonov, a member of the General Administration of South Caucasus, and under the leadership of major Alekseyev, director of Mining Engineer Corps of Baku oil fields, the world’s first industrial oil well was drilled in Bibiheybat village of Baku and oil was extracted from the well at a depth of 21 metres. This happened 13 years before the first oil well was drilled in the United States.

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1863

Javad Malikov, a machinist from Baku, built a kerosene plant, which used fridges in oil processing for the first time in the world.

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1863-1872

Oil production in Baku increased from 395,470 poods to 1,536,000 poods. The crude oil and oil products produced were delivered to the largest cities of Russia such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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1875

The Nobel brothers - Robert, Ludvig, Alfred - started working in the oil business in Azerbaijan. Mainly Ludwig and his son Emmanuel (after the death of his father) were actively working in Baku.

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1877

On the order of Ludvig Nobel, the world’s first oil-carrying steel-hulled steamship Zoroastr (Zaradusht) was built in Motala, Sweden.

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1878

For the first time in the Russian Empire, the Nobel Brothers started the construction of an oil pipeline with a length of 9 km and a diameter of 7.62 sm from the Balakhany oil fields to the Black City district of Baku.

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1881

For the first time in the world, the Nobel Brothers Company started transporting oil and oil products in railway tankers.

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1883

The Baku-Batum line of the Transcaucasia railway became operational in May.

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1895

Oil millionaire Murtuza Mukhtarov applied the percussive drilling rig with metal rods he invented in drilling 1100-meter oil wells and received a patent. Later this machine was widely used in drilling operations.

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1895

Oil millionaire Shamsi Asadullayev managed to transport oil from Baku by steamships and pipelines.

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1899-1901

In terms of the absolute amount of oil output, the Baku oil industry took first place in the world. During these years, Baku produced 95% of Russian oil, half of the world’s oil production.

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1907

Azerbaijani oil millionaires Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev and Musa Naghiyev laid the Trans-Caucasus pipeline with a length of 829 versts (1 verst ≈ 1070 metres) and a transmission capacity of 800,000 tons, and put it into operation in July 1907. The ceremonial opening of the pipeline was held in Tbilisi on the 24th of July 1907.

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1920

Azerbaijan Oil Committee Azneftkom was established to nationalise the oil industry of Azerbaijan. A few months later, it was replaced by Azerneft, Azerbaijan State Oil Industry Union (“Trust”).

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1941-1945

In the first year of the war, Azerbaijan supplied 23.5 million tons of oil for military purposes. In general, during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), 75 million tons of Baku oil was used on the battle front and 90% of military jet fuel was produced by the Baku refineries.

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1949

The Oil Rocks, an offshore oil field was launched in the open sea for the first time in the world. The first offshore oil well (Offshore Well No. 1) was put into operation on the 7th of November 1949, which laid the foundation of offshore oil production.

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1953

By the order of the Ministry of Oil Industry of the USSR dated the 29th of July 1953, the New Baku Oil Refinery (now the Heydar Aliyev Oil Refinery) was established. The first unit - ED-AV-6 - for the primary processing of oil was commissioned in 1976.

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1954

The industrial exploitation of the rich Garadagh Oil and Gas Field was started, which laid the foundation of the gas industry in Azerbaijan.

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1969-1982

During the first leadership of the National Leader of the Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev, substantial steps were taken for the dynamic development of the oil and gas industry, as in all areas of the economy.

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1971

Azerbaijan reached over one billion tons of oil production.

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1984

The Baku Deep Water Jackets Factory (now the Heydar Aliyev Baku Deep Water Jackets Factory) was commissioned.

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1991

Following the regaining of its state independence, Azerbaijan established the Azerineft State Concern according to the Decree issued by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan on the 3rd of December 1991.

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1992

On the 13th of September 1992, the President of Azerbaijan issued a decree to establish the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) on the basis of Azerineft State Concern and Azernefkimya PU.

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1994

Under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev, the Agreement on Joint Development and Production Sharing for the Azeri, Chirag fields and the Deep Water Portion of the Gunashli field in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea was signed on September 20, 1994. 11 international oil companies representing 7 countries joined the $7.4-billion Contract of the Century.

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1994

Azerbaijani Parliament ratified the Contract of the Century on the 12th of December.

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1995

Azerbaijan International Operating Company, AIOC, was established.

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1996

The Agreement on the Exploration, Development and Production Sharing of the Shah Deniz prospective field located in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea was signed and entered into force on the 17th of October 1996.

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1997

The first oil was produced from the Chirag platform on the 7th of November.

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1997

The Early Oil Project (EOP) was initiated in the Sangachal Terminal.

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1997

The Baku-Novorossiysk Pipeline (also known as the Northern Route Export Pipeline) was commissioned.

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1998

The Istiglal semi-submersible drilling rig was commissioned.

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1998

An agreement was signed on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Main Oil Export Pipeline.

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1999

The Shah Deniz field located in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea was discovered.

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1999

The 5th anniversary of the Contract of the Century was celebrated.

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1999

The Baku-Supsa oil pipeline was commissioned. The first oil shipment in Supsa took place on the 8th of April 1999.

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1999

According to the Decree signed by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on the 29th of December 1999, the State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan was established for the purpose of the efficient management of hydrocarbon revenues, ensuring fair distribution between generations and directing those funds to the development of priority areas.

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2001

ACG FFD Phase 1 was approved.

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2001

On the 16th of August 2001, National Leader Heydar Aliyev signed Decree No. 558, according to which the 20th of September is celebrated as the Day of Oilmen in Azerbaijan.

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2002

ACG Development Phase 2 was approved.

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2002

The groundbreaking ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Main Export Pipeline (MEP) was held with the participation of the heads of state of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Türkiye in the territory of the Sangachal Terminal on the 18th of September.

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2003

Shah Deniz (SD) Development Phase 1 was approved.

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2004

ACG Development Phase 3 was approved.

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2004

The construction of the South Caucasus Pipeline started.

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2005

On the 25th of May, an event was held at the Sangachal Terminal to mark the official celebration of first crude oil into the BTC main export pipeline.

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2005

On the 13th of February, oil production started from the Central Azeri field under the Azeri Phase 1 project.

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2006

In January, oil production started from the West Azeri field under the Azeri Phase 2 project.

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2006

In October, oil production started from the East Azeri field under the Azeri Phase 2 project.

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2006

The first volume of natural gas was pumped into the South Caucasus Pipeline, SCP.

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2006

On the 28th of May, Azerbaijani oil delivered through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline reached the port of Ceyhan.

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2006

On the 13th of July, the grand opening ceremony of the Heydar Aliyev Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Main Export Pipeline, the largest energy projects of the 21st century, was held in Ceyhan, Türkiye.

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2007

The first gas volumes from the Shah Deniz field was delivered to Türkiye.

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2008

The first oil was extracted from the Deep Water Gunashli field.

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2008

SOCAR entered the market of Türkiye with the acquisition of 51% of the shares of Petkim Petrochemical Complex.

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2009

The throughput capacity of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline was increased to 1.2 million barrels per day.

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2010

The Chirag Oil Project was approved.

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2010

A document was signed to extend Shah Deniz Production Sharing Agreement from 2031 to 2036.

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2010

One billionth barrel of oil was transported through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

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2010

In 2009, SOCAR launched prospective drilling operations in the deep-water section of the Umid structure in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea and discovered the Umid gas-condensate field in November 2010; this is the first offshore field discovered by SOCAR after Azerbaijan gained its state independence.

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2011

The European Commission and the Government of Azerbaijan signed a Joint Declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor.

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2011

The foundation of the STAR Oil Refinery was laid in the Aliaga region of Izmir, Türkiye.

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2011

The foundation of the SOCAR Carbamide Plant was laid.

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2012

On the 26th of June, a ceremony of signing the documents on the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project was held with the participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Türkiye Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

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2013

The first and only Methanol Factory in the Caucasus was commissioned.

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2013

The Shah Deniz Consortium made a final investment decision within the Shah Deniz 2 project.

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2013

The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) was selected as the export route for delivering the natural gas from the Shah Deniz field to Europe.

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2014

Oil production started from the West Chirag platform.

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2015

The foundation of the TANAP pipeline was laid in Kars, Türkiye.

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2016

On the 20th of September, SOCAR issued its first bonds.

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2017

SOCAR’s subsidiary in Switzerland, SOCAR Energy Holdings, entered the Austrian retail fuel market and acquired the petrol stations operated by the A1 and Pronto Oil companies.

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2017

On 14 September 2017, the amended and restated Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli Joint Development and Production Sharing Agreement was signed in Baku. BP remained the project's operator under the amended and stated agreement, which was extended until 2049. SOCAR's shares increased from 11% to 25%, and Azerbaijan's direct share in profitable oil amounted to 75%.

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2017

The 6th generation semi-submersible drilling rig named after Heydar Aliyev was commissioned.

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2017

On November 8, the 2 billionth tons of oil was produced in Azerbaijan.

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2017

Petkim Wind Power Plant project was commissioned.

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2018

On the 29th of May, the official opening ceremony of the Southern Gas Corridor was held at the Sangachal Terminal in Baku.

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2018

On the 12th of June, the first section of the TANAP pipeline from the Georgia-Türkiye border to Eskişehir, Türkiye was commissioned.

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2018

On the 30th of June, as part of the Shah Deniz 2 project, the first commercial gas was transported to Türkiye through the TANAP pipeline.

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2018

On the 18th of July, the Polypropylene (PP) Plant was put into operation as part of the SOCAR Polymer project.

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2018

The opening ceremony of STAR Refinery, SOCAR’s biggest investment project in Türkiye, was held on the 19th of October.

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2018

On the 24th of December, the fixed offshore platform No. 12, built by SOCAR’s Oil and Gas Construction Trust, was put into operation at the Bulla Deniz field.

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2019

On the 16th of January, SOCAR Carbamide, which contributes to the development of the agriculture and the non-oil sector in Azerbaijan, was put into operation.

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2019

On the 2nd of February, the High Density Polyethylene Plant (HDPP) was put into operation as part of the SOCAR Polymer project.

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2019

In March, the management of Petkim Container Port, 70% owned by Petkim, was transferred from APMT to SOCAR Türkiye and the port began to operate as SOCAR Terminal.

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2019

On the 30th of November, the TANAP’s European connection was commissioned.

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2020

On the 19th of March, SOCAR and Equinor confirmed the discovery of the Garabagh oil field, which is the first oil field discovered during the period of independence of Azerbaijan.

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2020

On the 20th of March, the technical operatorship of the South Caucasus Pipeline was transferred from bp to SOCAR.

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2020

On the 24th of April, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended the ceremony for launching the main gas pipeline from Aghdara village of Khizy District in Absheron region to Sumgayit.

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2020

On the 10th of August, Garabagh offshore jacket was officially sailed away.

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2020

The ground-breaking ceremony of the offshore operations in the Absheron field was held on the 19th of September.

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2020

With the commissioning of the TAP pipeline on the 31st of December, the first stage of the Southern Gas Corridor project was completed, and for the first time in history, Azerbaijani gas was transported directly to the European market.

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2021

The first gas and condensate reserves were discovered in the Shafag-Asiman field.

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2021

On the 23rd of January, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev issued a decree to establish the Supervisory Board of SOCAR to carry out general management and control over the operations of the State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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2021

On the 5th of September, a brand new "SOCAR" modular gas filling station was put into use in Agdam city.

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2021

On the 20th of September, SOCAR launched its second bond issue for the domestic market.

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2021

On the 20th of December, a petrol station of SOCAR was opened in the section of the Gorus-Gafan road that passes through Eivazly village of Gubadly District.

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2022

On the 21st of September, SOCAR's new modular gas filling station was put into use in Hadrut settlement of Khojavend region. This station is convenient for motor vehicle owners using the Fuzuli-Hadrut-Shusha highway.

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2022

The load-out and sail-away of the support block of the Azeri-Central-Eastern (ACE) platform was launched on the 13th of December.

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2023

On the 20th of February, the gas station of SOCAR was put into use in the city of Lachin. The modular station is intended for vehicles using the Lachin-Shusha road.