Industrial event of the year in Azerbaijan
A polypropylene plant built within the SOCAR Polymer project in Sumgait Chemical Industrial Park was opened yesterday. The opening ceremony was attended by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who is on an official visit in Azerbaijan.
Ilham Aliyev stressed that the export potential of Azerbaijan will increase significantly as a result of commissioning the polypropylene plant and a polyethylene plant at the end of the year. "Both plants will annually produce 300,000 tons of products, and 70% of the output will be exported to foreign markets," he said. "Thus, Azerbaijan will completely eliminate dependence on imports and great volume of non-oil exports will be created in the country," the head of state stressed.
"This plant shows us successful economic and industrial policy of Azerbaijan pursued for long years. More than 500 jobs will be created in the plant. The plane will contribute to development of non-oil sector of Azerbaijan. This plant will lead to creation of thousand, even ten thousands of jobs because raw materials of this plant will be used to manufacture a product and Azerbaijan’s dependence on this product will also be reduced to zero," he stressed.
"This is the hugest industrial enterprise in modern history of Azerbaijan. Taking this opportunity, I thank again Italian partners. I’m sure that they will continue to operate in Azerbaijan successfully. Such industrial enterprises will be established in the future too. Because there is need for it," APA cited the president as saying.
"Azerbaijan modernizes its industrial potential," Ilham Aliyev noted. "Oil industry increased by 8.8% in six months of this year. Azerbaijan has a very good investment environment. Nearly $15 million was invested in Azerbaijan during past fifteen years," he stressed. "Financial banks provided their financial support. The newest technologies will be used in this plant. Construction of this plant was provided by an Italian company. We’ll create a number of new industrial enterprises meeting the newest technologies. Therefore, there will be opportunities for Italian companies to operate in Azerbaijan in the future," the head of state underlined.
The leading expert of the North-South Political Science Center, Alexander Karavaev, speaking to the correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that SOCAR Polymer will play a backbone role in the Azerbaijani industry. "This enterprise forms a whole new industry in the republic's economy. It will also significantly influence the related industries, the development of petrochemical industries in Azerbaijan as a whole, and the growth of medium-sized businesses that will process and manufacture final products from those polymers that will be produced at SOCAR Polymer. Thanks to the enterprise the export performance of finished products will improve, due to which Azerbaijan's non-oil export may increase by 15-20% within several years ," he pointed out.
Alexander Karavaev expressed confidence that Russian-Azerbaijani economic cooperation will be strengthened. "Part of the gas for SOCAR Polymer will be bought from Russia, as all Azerbaijani gas is exported, and fuel for the CHP plant and the plant will be delivered by Gazprom. As for the new areas of cooperation, I think that time will show. The meeting of Aliyev and Putin on September 1 will shed light on the trade and industrial cooperation of our countries," he said.
The economic expert Rovshan Ibrahimov said that the opening of SOCAR Polymer is a stage in the implementation of Azerbaijan's energy strategy. "Part of this strategy is to process oil and gas on the territory of the country and abroad and produce finished petrochemical products from processed products, sales of which bring more revenue than sales of crude oil and natural gas. The volume of Azerbaijani oil production is declining every year. In this regard, Azerbaijan is paying more attention to the development of the non-oil sector," Rovshan Ibrahimov said in the first place.
"The opening of the petrochemical complex will enable Azerbaijan to reduce dependence on imports of a number of petrochemical products due to domestic production of these products, as well as to increase export revenues from the sale of this plant's products. In addition, the commissioning of SOCAR Polymer gives both new jobs and an increase in the number of highly skilled personnel in the petrochemical sector," he added.
The expert stressed that the experience of SOCAR Polymer will be important for continuing the processes of urbanization and industrial modernization in the country. "This experience will allow Azerbaijan to implement similar projects in the future, a number of which will be built in Turkey," Rovshan Ibrahimov expects.
He also highly appreciated the level of cooperation between SOCAR and Russia's Gazprombank, which financed a significant part of the project. "This shows how highly Gazprombank's confidence in the successful implementation of SOCAR Polymer. I think that further Russian-Azerbaijani cooperation in the industry will only increase. In addition, SOCAR has an agreement with Rosneft on the development of joint oil and gas projects. In general, SOCAR Polymer will become a starting point for further activation and diversification of economic relations between Russia and Azerbaijan," the economist concluded.