By Fariz Ismailzade
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Additional info for Russia's Energy Interests in Azerbaijan
The project was ordered by Azerenergy, the state power utility, to meet the rising demand for electricity. The plant will be sea-water cooled and will include two gas turbines and one steam turbine174. It will be ready by 2007175. Besides, Azerbaijani leadership has been actively working with international financial institutions to improve its energy sector and increase its energy independence. On 21 May 2005, the World Bank approved a $48m power transmission project, which will improve the reliability, quality and cost-effectiveness of the electricity supply in the country through investments improving management and performance of the high-voltage transmission network.
In May 2004, LUKoil proposed to SOCAR to increase the former’s stake in the project for the sake of increasing its commercial attractiveness94. LUKoil also proposed some other alternative solutions to increase the amount of oil to be exported95. But after ‘difficult negotiations with SOCAR’ and failure to reach an agreement on these proposals, LUKoil decided to pull out from the PSA, which it had done by 16 February 200596. LUKoil also announced in 2002 that it would sell its shares in the Shakh-Deniz consortium led by BP.
On several occasions, LUKoil executives announced that they did not plan to sell ACG shares. A press release from the GMB Publishing company vaguely stated at the time that: ‘from time to time, LUKoil engages in discussion with other oil and gas companies regarding its strategic options. 25bn69. Analysts and experts from the oil industry termed the decision unwise. Robert Ebel, director of the energy and national security programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said: ‘I am totally surprised.