May 15, 2012
The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (Socar) is interested in building an oil refinery and a chain of petrol stations in Libya as part of a drive to expand its international investment.
Azerbaijan's ambassador to Libya, Agasalim Shukurov, delivered the proposal to Libyan Oil and Gas Minister Abdulrahman Ben Yezza at a meeting in Tripoli on May 14. According to a statement from the Azeri foreign ministry, Socar is ready for both a joint venture with Libya and running the project with its own funds. Yezza also expressed an interest in wider cooperation between Libya and Azerbaijan in the oil and gas sector, APA reports.
Baku-based Socar has been expanding into nearby markets in recent years. It already has a refinery under construction in the Izmir region of Turkey, and operates petrol stations in Georgia, Ukraine and Romania.
In November 2011, the Azeri company agreed to acquire ExxonMobil’s Swiss affiliate, Esso Schweiz. through its newly established Swiss division, Socar Energy Switzerland. The acquisition includes a chain of over 170 petrol stations currently operating under the Esso brand. They are expected to be rebranded in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Socar is also planning to invest around $250m to build an oil refinery in Kyrgyzstan, which will have annual capacity of 2m tonnes.