The unexpected threefold drop in oil prices over the last year and a half, has forced Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR to optimize costs and restructure its various divisions, said Azerbaijani Ambassador to Switzerland Akram Zeynalli in an interview with the Swiss Russian-language news website Nasha Gazeta.
Zeynalli said it also became necessary to revise the policy of SOCAR’s representation in different countries.
“Given that SOCAR was represented in Switzerland by three different structures, namely, the official representative office, SOCAR Trading, and SOCAR Energy Switzerland, it was decided to close down the SOCAR representative office in Geneva,” said Zeynalli.
The ambassador said that rather than the SOCAR representative office, the SOCAR Energy Switzerland operates the filling stations network in Switzerland very efficiently, gradually expanding the network across the country.
“I have to note that when possible, I ask my interlocutors about SOCAR’s filling stations and I assure you that everyone, filling up the tanks of their cars there, is pleased with the quality of service,” he said.
“SOCAR’s activity has justified hopes and customers are pleased with it,” he said. “SOCAR has become a competitive company.”
The diplomat also said Azerbaijan has turned from a country receiving investments into a country that actively invests in other countries’ economies.
“An example of such investment was SOCAR’s purchasing the Esso filling stations network from ExxonMobil in 2011,” said Zeynalli.
The ambassador added that at present the SOCAR filling stations network consists of about 160 filling stations.
SOCAR is the sole producer of oil products in Azerbaijan. The company also has filling stations in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Romania and Switzerland.
SOCAR exported 350,000 tons of oil products in January-March 2016 as compared to 348,600 tons exported in the same period of 2015.
SOCAR exported 1.23 million tons of oil products in 2015 compared to 1.2 million tons exported in 2014.