Azeris Turkmens Continue Dispute Over Oil Field

BAKU (Itar-Tass)–The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan Tuesday sent another note to the Turkmen Foreign Ministry concerning the ownership of the Kyapaz sea oil deposit–Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Hassan Hassanov told Itar-Tass.

According to Hassanov–the document clearly says that "the neighboring country must–in the long run–shape the principles of the sea division–and in particular–admit that it favors its sectoral division on the medial line."

In this case–Hassanov emphasized–the talks on the sides on the deposit will have a subject matter.

A basic concept is necessary for a constructive dialogue on the solution on any problem–all the more disputable–he said.

According to Hassanov–the deposit is situated in the Azerbaijan sector the oil deposit started right after the signing in Moscow on July 4 of an agreement on the principles of its development be Azerbaijan’s latest deal to develop the field with LUKoil and Rosneft had raised the ire of Turkmen’stan. The field–which Turkmen’stan calls Serdar–is located on the border between the Turkmen and Azerbaijani sectors of the Caspian.

The Turkmen Foreign Ministry contested an agreement on the joint development of the oil field signed by Russia and Azerbaijan.

The ministry categorically demanded that "the agreement be annulled to avoid the consequences for which Turkmen’stan will not bear any responsibility."

On August 5–the Russian Foreign Ministry officially announced to Ashkhabad that the agreement on the Caspian oil field was canceled. The Foreign Ministry statement noted that Russia was regretful over the fact which could seriously complicate the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Turkmen’stan.

However–Azerbaijan continues to claim that it has so far received no written statemen’s from the Russian side–including from the involved companies–on a unilateral annulment of the deal.

The Kyapaz field is estimated to hold about 50 million metric tons of oil.

"If Russia is not ready to receive Azerbaijani oil as scheduled–the republic will find a way out of that situation," the Azerbaijani president told reporters before leaving with an official visit to Poland on Tuesday.

Gaidar Aliyev is expecting Chechnya to inform him shortly about the agreement reached with Russian on all the questions related to the transit of Azerbaijani oil through Chechen territory.

Aliyev instructed Azerbaijan’s First Deputy Prime Minister Abbas Abbasov to get into contact with the responsible agencies in Moscow. Under the bilateral agreement signed by Aliyev and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in January 1996–oil transit via the neighboring Chechen territory is guaranteed by the Russian government–with Russia’s Fuel and Power Ministry and company Transneft acting as legal persons. Transneft has also been contracted to carry the Azerbaijani oil to Novorossiysk.

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