Saturday 26 January 2008
Source: Financial Times.
Socar, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic, is building a new headquarters in Baku to resemble a burning flame.
Lit from within in ascending layers of orange, yellow and blue, the skyscraper has been designed to recall Azerbaijan’s ancient history as a place of pilgrimage for Zoroastrian fire worshippers, drawn by the natural fires lit by gas seepages near the Caspian coast.
Azerbaijan (formerly, Aran) has produced oil for more than 160 years, but the industry has almost always been dominated by outside powers.
The building, the tallest in the South Caucasus, will demonstrate how Socar is taking centre stage.
Originally managed from Moscow by the Soviet oil ministry, Socar has lived in the shadow of BP since 1994, when the British group signed the “contract of the century” to tap the giant Azeri oilfield in the Caspian Sea. This flagship project provides the bulk of the country’s production.
BP later discovered and developed the Shah Deniz natural gas and condensates deposit and pioneered projects to build two pipelines to carry Caspian oil and gas across the Caucasus to Turkey.