"Oil Oscar" of SOCAR Trading - is the growth of successful strategy

The company has received 2015 Award of Excellence in the category 'Strategic Deal of the Year' for its LNG project in Malta

The year 2015, which gave us a lot of worries, is ending. There were political scandals, economic difficulties, and military operations around us are threatening to spill over into the territory of Azerbaijan. Even the tragedy on the platform No.10 of the Guneshli oilfield seemed once again to stress the gravity of blows that hit us. The elements dealt a terrible blow: oil workers were killed, many of them are still missing, rescuers managed to snatch several bodies from the clutches of the Caspian raging and they received decent burial. I would like once again express my deep and sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the tragedy at the oil rig of the Guneshli field. God rest their souls!

But, thank God, the heroic efforts of oil workers, fire-fighters and rescuers managed to minimise this tragedy. It was possible to save and cure dozens of oil workers, the fire, we can say, has been extinguished, environmental disaster related to a possible oil spill was averted. And soon, I think, a meeting of the government would take place, where President Ilham Aliyev would sum the results of all these works. And only then we will hear about the true causes of the tragedy and its results. Of course, there will be named the actual persons responsible for the tragedy and announced specific instructions on how to deal with the accident, and measures to strengthen safety works on other offshore platforms.

Once again, I want to emphasise that this is a great tragedy for the Azerbaijani people, especially for its marine oil workers, whose work always carries a high risk. Neither the extraordinary tragedy on the platform No.10, nor the booth with oil workers at the Oil Rocks field washed away by huge waves, nor the continuing storm that lasted for a long time after theses tragic events could break their will. It was this strong will that opposed the elements falling upon them, this will allowed them with more persistence to achieve unseen success in the most extreme conditions in the name of their dead friends.

There were happy events too in these days, of course, but they were so overshadowed by the tragedy and the followed mourning, that no one even remembered about them. But life goes on, it goes its own measured way, presenting joy to some and sorrow to the others.

The author of these lines once observed a strange picture in a Russian village, where a funeral procession met in the village centre with a wedding procession. It is difficult to say whether everything had been pre-negotiated by the parties, but numerous procession participants dispersed peacefully, everyone was busy with their task: some mourned the deceased, while others danced to cheerful melodies of an accordion. And then I thought, it was in fact all right, for that was how life was basically arranged.

And the same today. Tragedy on the platform No.10 eclipsed somehow one of the most important achievements of the Azerbaijani oil workers in recent years. SOCAR Trading, acting as a trading house of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), was awarded such a prestigious award as the Platts Global Energy Award, which experts liken to an 'Oscar' in the energy sector. The company has received 2015 Award of Excellence in the category 'Strategic Deal of the Year' for its LNG project in Malta. Without going into details of this project, abundant technical formulations, terms, and numerous figures, let us just look at how it did it.

Yes, SOCAR Trading's achievement is really high, and we congratulate the company on that. We have written about the activities of SOCAR Trading quite a number of times. It is really a cutting-edge company, whose entire management is built on the high-level Western standards. But the company's employees explain all the achievements to be due solely to the business abilities of one of its founders and former shareholders, Anar Alizade. This Azerbaijani entrepreneurs have already become one of the most successful young representatives of the business world on an international scale precisely due to his ability to create such companies as SOCAR Trading.

From an early age he entered the path of entrepreneurship and at 37 thanks to his dedication and business acumen has achieved high prestige. Everybody duly appreciate his management abilities and reliability as a partner and investor. He was one of the first entrepreneurs to promote the development of trade relations between the UAE and Azerbaijan, which are still thriving today. It is in this country that Anar Alizade's interest in the oil sector grew: he created several oil service companies and began to import to Azerbaijan efficient experience of that Arab country. Through the activities of Grand MMC company he founded, which consisted of trade in oil equipment and technical services to local oil companies, Anar Alizade has become a reliable partner of SOCAR.

But he never rests content with what has been achieved and soon creates in Singapore, considered to be one of the most transparent countries in the world, a new company - Union Grand Energy PTE, under the roof of which gathers all his firms. He made this fact known in Baku and opened here an office of his country. That's how Anar Aliyev becomes one of the first Azerbaijani businessmen paying large taxes in his own country on income received abroad.

But Anar Alizade was haunted by such a though: why should Azerbaijani oil be sold by foreign trading companies? The long search for an answer to this question led him to the following conclusion: such an arrangement reduces both the country's income from oil exports and hampers branding of Azerbaijani oil. He shared these thoughts with the leadership of SOCAR, and as the result there was laid the foundation of SOCAR Trading SA. And as the result of the new company's successful activity, a new brand - Azeri Light - was presented to the world.

SOCAR Trading activity also interested the well-known in the world consulting companies Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Wood Mackenzie, specialising in the professional evaluation of large companies. And then they voiced the numbers that had not been voiced before by anyone: in 2008-2013, marketing activities of SOCAR Trading brought Azerbaijan additional 1.7-1.8 bln. dollars of net profit from oil export. And that's not to mention the increase in Azeri Light's premium, the new idea, the new philosophy of the Azerbaijani oil brand. SOCAR Trading brought the country additional income also through the development of trading business with third parties. And starting in 2010, SOCAR Trading annually brings to the international market 70 million barrels of oil from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Russia and other countries.

BCG and Wood Mackenzie also corroborated that SOCAR Trading had the most active and flexible system in the sale of crude oil to adapt to changes in short-term market opportunities.

Although Anar Alizade sold in 2012 all of his shares in SOCAR Trading to the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, his so successfully elected strategy is still bearing fruit. A clear proof of this is the fact that the company is now honoured with the prestigious Platts Global Energy Award. It is gratifying that today, when due to the fall in prices on the world market, many well-known companies suffer great difficulties and losses, SOCAR Trading continues to be among the best.

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