The importance of transparency in the development of the oil and gas sector was discussed on June 3 as part of the Caspian Oil and Gas 2004 conference in Baku. Samir Sharifov, Chairman of the National Committee on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Executive Director of the State Oil Fund , presided over the panel on Caspian Regional Development the role and strategic objectives of public sector multi-lateral organizations and regional and local economic impact", during which the importance of transparency in the economy was a focus.
Mr. Sharifov indicated that the government has taken useful measures to bring about poverty reduction and improvement of the welfare of the people. He further pointed out that the very goals of the State Oil Fund are to ensure sound management of oil revenues within the framework of a transparent accounting system.
Mr. Sharifov underlined that the National Committee on EITI was established in November 2003 by the Ordinance of the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan following an instruction from President Ilham Aliyev, and that the public is regularly informed about the government's sound management of the country's oil revenues.
Laurie Bristow, ambassador of the United Kingdom to Azerbaijan , pointed out that , in comparison to other countries, Azerbaijan had made visible progress in implementing EITI. "Work is well advanced ," he told the conference. "The government of Azerbaijan and other stakeholders agreed to the reporting guidelines a s well as the process for producing definitive figures for payments and receipts," the British ambassador said.
Mr. Christian Petersen, Chief Economist of the World Bank , said that he appreciated Azerbaijan successes in management of the oil revenues and underlined that Azerbaijan was among a few countries that had achieved success in this direction.
Ms. Ria Kemper, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat , also rated highly the measures Azerbaijan has taken for provision of transpareny in the management of its oil revenues.
Ms. Charlotte Philips, Senior Banker of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as Jakov Vroekpaujsen, an advisor to the World Bank Group , and others , all emphasized the need for transparency of the oil and gas projects.
The panel participants discussed international cooperation in the energy sector, perspe ctives for the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, projects realized by foreign companies and joint ventures and other related issues.