The contract to develop the Lenkoran-Deniz and Talysh-Deniz oilfields, just ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament (see Monitor, June 16), brings new players to Azerbaijan’s oilfields. The French company Elf Aquitaine is project operator with a 40 percent stake, and Total of France holds another 10 percent. Germany’s Deminex and the Overseas Iranian Energy Corporation hold 10 percent each, Belgium’s Petrofina 5 percent, and Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company the remaining 25 percent. The contract was originally signed in January 1997 in Paris with the French partners, who subsequently exercised their right to transfer part of their interest to the German and Belgian partners. The investment project is valued at approximately $2 billion, and the two fields’ proven oil reserves are some 80 million tons. The fields are located in shallow waters near Azerbaijan’s border with Iran. (Western agencies, June 16)
Azerbaijan’s Islamic Party Said to Change Strategy.