BP’s fossil fuel projects in Azerbaijan helped finance military aggression against Karabakh Armenians through the transfer of billions of dollars to the Azerbaijani government since 2020, a campaign group has claimed.
Global Witness said Azerbaijan’s share of two major oil and gas projects operated by the British oil company had earned its government more than four times its military spending since 2020, the year war broke out in the territory. disputed Nagorno-Karabakh.
The NGO’s analysis suggests that Azerbaijan’s economic dependence on BP, its largest foreign investor, has indirectly helped finance Azerbaijan’s military aggression against ethnic Armenians in the disputed region, which has forced more than 100,000 people to flee the territory since early September.
The same month, senior officials representing BP, including its chairman Helge Lund and former chief executive John Browne, visited Baku to attend the 100th birthday celebrations of former Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev and reiterated his commitment ” for a long-term partnership with Azerbaijan. ”, according to a company press release.
BP has supplied Baku with oil and gas worth almost $35 billion (£28.6 billion) since 2020 under a “production sharing agreement”.
Aliyev’s son, Ilham Aliyev, became president after his father’s death in 2003, following elections that Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers said were not fair. conform to international standards.
Dominic Eagleton, campaign manager at Global Witness, said: “BP’s long-standing partnership with the Aliyev ‘dictatorship’ financed Azerbaijan’s militarization and aggression against Armenia. BP is happy to continue drilling, having learned nothing from the historic mistake it made in Russia. »
BP abandoned a nearly 20% stake in Russian oil company Rosneft, at a cost to the company of $24 billion, following the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine after the British government expressed its concerns about BP’s ties to the company, given its role in supplying fuel for Russia’s military effort.
“Funding violent dictators is always a bad strategy,” Eagleton said.
BP last week reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter profits of $3.3 billion, compared with $8.2 billion in the same months last year, sparking speculation that its weak stock price and upheaval within its board of directors could make it a takeover target.
A BP spokesperson said the company “has had a presence in Azerbaijan for three decades and we remain committed to operating a safe, reliable and resilient energy business in the region.”
Under an agreement between BP and the Azerbaijani government in the 1990s, the oil company is required to return a share of the fossil fuels it produces from these projects to the state.
This type of agreement is common in the oil and gas industry as a way to share the risks and rewards of developing fossil fuel projects between foreign companies and the host state.
BP owns the largest share of Azerbaijan’s oil and gas projects, alongside other foreign oil companies including US-based Exxon Mobil, Norway’s Equinor and Russia’s Lukoil, which have small minority stakes in the projects. projects.
BP’s financial information shows that it has supplied Baku with oil and gas worth almost $35 billion on the global market since 2020. This sum represents more than four times the government’s military spending on the same period, which reached 7.9 billion dollars, according to International Peace in Stockholm. Research Institute.
“We support a peaceful resolution to the conflict and hope that a definitive solution will soon be found,” added the BP spokesperson. Browne did not respond to requests for comment.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said the ethnic exodus of Armenians amounted to “a direct act of ethnic cleansing and deprivation of the people of their homeland.” This claim was strongly rejected by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, which said the mass migration of the region’s residents was a “personal and individual decision and had nothing to do with forced resettlement.”