Dutch Multi-National Fugro Committed to Long-Term Success in Azerbaijan
In 1994, an international consortium of oil companies led by British Petroleum signed the “Contract of the Century,” a document that marked a new era in Azerbaijan’s oil and gas industry and paved the way for Azerbaijan’s rapid economic rise. Shortly thereafter, Dutch multi-national Fugro first arrived in Azerbaijan. “We came here because developing Azerbaijan’s offshore petroleum industry required essential skills that we could offer and provide information that enabled the difficult seabed conditions of the Caspian Sea to be overcome. We were asked to help determine the precise locations of the wells that would be drilled,” Chris Mott, General Manager of Fugro Survey LTD (Caspian), explains. “We’re proud to say that we were fundamentally involved in the creation of BP’s energy infrastructure here.”
In the twenty years since its entrance to Azerbaijan’s high potential market, Fugro has become a fixture in Azerbaijan’s energy industry, particularly given their newly signed joint-venture with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic, more widely known as SOCAR.
While the partnership promises to create additional opportunities within SOCAR’s operating network inside and outside of Azerbaijan, Chris Mott believes that SOCAR Fugro’s best-in-class skills, knowledge and human resources can be applied to other sectors of Azerbaijan’s rapidly developing economy. “If you regard our industry as a spectrum of expertise, and look at the taller buildings, the more difficult ground, the earthquake zones, you need proper engineering and we’ve got the proprietary tools to assist,” Mott says. “There’s a saying in the civil-engineering field that affirms, ‘you’ll pay for a site investigation whether you do one or not, and the less you spend, the more you’ll pay.’”
As in the myriad of other markets in which the Fugro group operates worldwide, in Azerbaijan the organization is committed to helping to develop the nation’s human capital. “We send many of our Azeri employees to other countries for training before potentially placing them on projects globally. Azeris we’ve developed are working now within the Fugro organization in Saudi Arabia, in the North Sea, in the UAE.”
Mott, who has spent several years in Azerbaijan already, believes Azerbaijan’s future remains bright. “I have a great belief in a positive future for Azerbaijan, provided that it matches its growing internal skills and expertise with its needs and the ability of the international community to support it.”