"The availability of significant oil and gas reserves in Azerbaijan Republic is our people's fortune and will be a major factor in the development of the country for the welfare of the people, their present and future."
National Leader Heydar Aliyev
"Oil has no value when it is under ground or soil. Some people say that oil is our national wealth and it should be left for the disposal of future generations. This is a very wrong and populist idea. To reiterate, oil is just a tool in our hands. I think that we have made the best use of this tool. Azerbaijan is now known worldwide."
President of Azerbaijan Republic
Information about crude oil recovery in Azerbaijan was repeatedly mentioned in art works of scientists and travelers of the early Middle Ages and it was noted that such uncommon product would generate a significant income. But at that times oil was only used for fuel, medical and military purposes. In the XVIII-XIX centuries the industrial revolution caused a sharp rise in oil demand and transformed it into a strategic output being essential for development of the country. Subsequently it leaded to an oil boom all over the world. A flow of foreign investments occurred in oil production of Azerbaijan. Having ancient oil extraction traditions Baku city became a center of invention and initial application of high technologies in boring, oil recovery and refinery. There emerged a turning point on oil production still in the middle of the XIX century and for the first time in the world oil wells were drilled in Bibiheybat in 1847, then in Balakhani by application of technique. In 1901 Azerbaijan took the first place in the world by producing 11.5 mln tons of oil (in the same year 9.1 mln tons of oil was produced in USA).
In the history of (with the exception of 2006) Azerbaijan Republic 23.5 mln tons of oil - to the maximum extent was extracted in 1941 and it constituted 71.4% of overall oil output of former Soviet Union. Such high production ensured the victory of the Soviet Union in Second World War and promoted more the particular role of oil resource in solution of many problems faced with economics. Offshore oil recovery originated in Azerbaijan and exploration of fields such as "Gurgandeniz", "Pirallahi" and "Chilov adasi" started one after another in Azerbaijan sector of Caspian Sea. Discovery of offshore oil field "Neft Dashlari" 40 km far from shore and 90 km from Baku on 7 November 1949 led the Republic of Azerbaijan and Caspian Sea to reach worldwide fame.
At the end of 1970s - 1980 years. At the depths of 80-350 metres currently worldwide-renown fields such as "Azeri", "Chirag", "Kapaz" and"Gunashli" field which presently outputs more than 60% of SOCAR oil production, were discovered.
Signing of Agreement on "Joint development of "Azeri", "Chirag" and "Gunashli" fields (deep-water sections) and production sharing", then so-called "Contract of the Century" was implemented on 20 September 1994. 11 major oil companies representing 8 countries of the world signed this Contract. Signing of such Contract with the oil companies of the largest and advanced countries was incarnation of wise policy, vision and political will of National Leader of the Azeri people Heydar Aliyev. The Contract almost gained the trust of the whole world countries in Azerbaijan and thereafter enabled a flow of the dominating and well-known oil countries into our country. Later the Republic of Azerbaijan was thrown open to foreign investments. 27 contracts as "Production Sharing Agreement" have been signed between SOCAR and foreign oil companies since then.