Azerbaijan 2012 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dmitriy Solovyov, General Director of Cross Caspian Oil and Gas Logistics, on the opportunities presented by the Caspian-Black Sea energy corridor.

Dmitriy Solovyov
Dmitriy Solovyov began his career in logistics and supply chain management at the SunTea Group of Companies in Dubai in 1998 after graduating, and later joined Middle East Petroleum FZE in Baku in 2001, where he managed the Economic Analysis and Planning Department for the Dubendi Oil Terminal. He joined Ocean Energy in 2003 on its energy trading side. In 2006 he became Planning and Logistics Department Manager of Cross Caspain Oil and Gas Logistics, and was appointed the company’s Acting General Director in 2007. Since 2010 he has been the General Director of the company.

When Cross Caspian was established with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) as a joint venture in late 2005, what opportunities did the parties implied initially see?

The provision of transshipment services on the Azerbaijan-Georgia transit corridor for oil and oil products coming from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan emerged during the late 1990s, and eventually went through rapid development in terms of volumes, facilities, and the number and type of customers, which offered great prospects for further development, while requiring coordination and comprehensive planning. Cross Caspian Oil & Gas Logistics was established as an integrated transportation services provider. The company coordinates the provision of transportation services for shippers seeking to secure the transshipment of significant amounts of hydrocarbons over an extended period of time. Of course, it is convenient for a shipper to work with a party coordinating all transshipment-related services pertaining to its cargo, but in order to ensure sustainability and the high quality of our services, we also consider among our primary goals long-term analysis and modeling, predicting potential demand in terms of capacities and technical requirements, assessing the status of the available assets, seeking effective means to de-bottleneck any capacity constraints, and ensuring compliance with all applicable local and international regulations, standards, and best industry practices.

What transportation capabilities does the corridor possess?

We are committed to securing the delivery of high-quality transportation services. Our main goal is to serve our existing customers, and put all our efforts into the provision of better services. We don't just want to remain a reliable partner for our existing customers but also attract new clients by improving our services in terms of both qualitative and quantitative performance indicators. The Caspian-Black Sea transshipment corridor has a capacity of around 1.2 million tons of oil and oil products per month. There have been certain improvements in infrastructure in Georgia and Azerbaijan since 2008, such as the commissioning of the modern Kulevi Oil Terminal in Georgia, and the development of the new Garadagh Oil and Gas Terminal in Azerbaijan.

Cross Caspian Oil & Gas Logistics puts a lot of stress on manpower training and environmental issues. How is the company implementing its strategies in these fields?

Transparency is the key to ensuring that the established control processes are not preventing companies from developing fresh ideas or hindering their ability to innovate and implement new approaches, methodologies, and procedures, and find new solutions. Learning is a never-ending process. Success is always a result of good teamwork. If people are not only motivated to learn, but really enjoy the work they do as a team, they will work much more efficiently.

What is Azerbaijan's geostrategic situation, taking into account the North-South and East-West economic and energy corridors?

For a country or a region to serve as transit hub it needs to meet certain prerequisites, such as a convenient geographical position, availability of developed transportation infrastructure, and political, economic, and social stability. Azerbaijan meets all such criteria and occupies a unique position serving as a bridge from the Caspian Sea to the Black and Mediterranean seas, which are world markets. Azerbaijan has diversified its infrastructure through the addition of several major pipelines and a number of maritime terminals. Altogether, Azerbaijan is a very attractive transit hub for potential shippers.