Turkmenia objects to Russian-Azeri oil deal

Jul 23, 1997 02:00 AM

July 9, 1997 An agreement on the joint development of oil fields in the Caspian Sea reached by Russia and Azerbaijan recently has "the nature of an agreement of intent" and was signed by "economic entities," Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Tarasov said. Tarasov told that the agreement "lies within the field of private law" and therefore cannot be considered as international agreement of the Russian Federation.
The statement followed Turkmenia's objections to the Russian- Azerbaijani oil deal.
The Turkmen Foreign Ministry contested the agreement that concerns the oil field Kyapaz (which Turkmenia calls Serdar and considers its property) and categorically demanded that "the agreement be annulled to avoid the consequences for which Turkmenistan will not bear any responsibility." "Different interpretations of the ownership of hydrocarbon resources in the Caspian Sea are connected, first of all, with the absence of new legal status for the Caspian Sea and a regime regulating the use of its mineral resources," Tarasov said. Russia's position on the issue is well known, he said. "From the point of view of international law, the Caspian Sea, as an inland body of water, is open for the use by all littoral states. We favour joint efforts to find, as soon as possible, fair and mutually acceptable solutions which would adequately serve interests in the fields of utilisation of mineral and biological resources, navigation, the protection of the Caspian Sea environment and other aspects, such a civilised and reasonable use of this body of water that would benefit all Caspian Sea states," he said.
The Turkmen Foreign Ministry recently contested an agreement on the joint development of the "Kyapaz" oil field. The agreement, signed during Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliyev's visit to Moscow, involves the Azerbaijani State Oil Company and the Russian companies LUKoil and Rosneft. The ministry said that it could only welcome such co-operation if the agreement did not cover the oil field "Serdar" (formerly "Promezhutochnoye") which belongs to Turkmenia and is referred to in the document as "Kyapaz." "It has always been Turkmenistan's fundamental and consistent position that international legal order should be restored in the Caspian Sea area, taking into account the new political realities and the need to ensure a civilised use of its resources in the interests of all littoral states," the statement said. Turkmenia has always supported calls for restraint in practical actions in the Caspian Sea pending its new legal status, the document said.
Russia and other Caspian Sea states know that Turkmenia protests blatant attempts to ignore its legitimate rights to the oil fields "Kaverochkin" and "26 Bakinskikh Komissarov" (renamed by Azerbaijan into "Chirak" and "Azeri" respectively), the former of which partially and the latter fully belongs to Turkmenia, the statement said. It said that Turkmenia has repeatedly asked Azerbaijan to begin constructive dialogue and refrain from any specific actions before an agreement is reached. "In this context, we cannot but be surprised, to say the least, by the decision adopted by Russia and Azerbaijan with regard to the oil field, for Turkmenistan's rights to this deposit are obvious and cannot be a matter of ambiguous interpretation," the statement said.

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