British Petroleum and Socar have extended the agreement signed between them in 1994 until 2050. Initially, the end date of the agreement was 2024. In fact, it has been extended for another 26 years.
BP is a consortium in which the Azerbaijani Socar has a share which has been increased from 11.7% to 25% which has been hailed by Aliyev. He noted that Baku will get an additional 3.5 billion dollars. This money is important for Azerbaijan considering the financial issues that there are in the banking system of this country. A few months ago the Western press reported a possibility of default in one of the major banks in Azerbaijan. In this respect, Azerbaijan gains an important financial source. On the other hand, the new agreement is interesting against the corruption scandal involving Aliyev revealed in the international press, namely the Guardian. Moreover, Baku blamed not only the Armenian lobby for the scandal as it traditionally does but also the British special services. And now, a few days after the latest corruption scandal the agreement is signed which extends the term of the authority of BP consortium over Azerbaijan’s oil resources by another 26 years, until 2050. Now it is clear why Baku hinted that the British special service backs the next international scandal. Had Baku refused to extend the agreement with BP until 2050 or was it trying to set its own conditions. What was the initial issue before the international corruption scandal and what was the solution is confidential but interestingly the agreement between Azerbaijan and BP was prolonged immediately after the corruption scandal.
It is also interesting that this time the corruption scandal involved one of the companies of the Russian defense industry, Rosoboronexport.
It is possible that Azerbaijan was planning to sign an oil agreement with Russia, not BP or Moscow was trying to strike a deal with Baku.
Azerbaijan practically surrendered, even if it got an additional 3.5 billion dollars. The point is that the presence of a Western consortium in the Azerbaijani oil and gas sector is an indirect but quite specific mechanism of stability and security in the Caucasus because only in such setting is the smooth flow of oil money possible.
One should not underestimate the role of oil interest of the West in Baku in the relative stability of the process of the Karabakh conflict in the past two decades. In fact, currently this interest is prolonged by another 26 years, until 2050. De facto it means extension of the current status quo and relative peace until 2050. Aliyev knew this very well but he was helped to understand what else the water of the “laundromat” could wash away if they disobeyed regarding oil.