BP’s fossil fuel projects in Azerbaijan have helped fund the military aggression against Karabakh Armenians though the transfer to billions of dollars to the Azerbaijan government since 2020, a campaign group has claimed.
Global Witness said Azerbaijan’s share of two large 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 that war broke out in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Analysis by the NGO suggested that Azerbaijan’s economic reliance on BP, its largest foreign investor, had indirectly helped to fund Azerbaijan’s military aggression against ethnic Armenians in the contested region, which has forced more than 100,000 people to flee the territory since early September.
In the same month senior figures representing BP, including its chair, Helge Lund, and former chief executive John Browne, visited Baku to attend the 100th birthday celebrations of Azerbaijan’s late former president Heydar Aliyev and reiterate its commitment “to long-term partnership with Azerbaijan”, according to a company statement.
BP’s financial disclosures show it has supplied Baku with oil and gas worth almost $35bn on the global market since 2020. This sum is more than four times the government’s military spending over the same period, which reached $7.9bn, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Dominic Eagleton, senior campaigner at Global Witness, said: “BP’s longstanding partnership with the Aliyev ‘dictatorship’ has funded Azerbaijan’s militarisation and aggression against Armenia. BP has been happy to keep drilling, having learned nothing from the historic mistake it made in Russia.”
“Funding violent dictators is always a bad strategy,” Eagleton said.
A spokesperson for BP said the company has “been present in Azerbaijan for three decades and we remain committed to operating a safe, reliable, and resilient energy business in the region”.
BP holds the largest share of Azerbaijan’s oil and gas projects alongside other foreign oil companies, including the US firm Exxon Mobil, Norway’s Equinor and the Russian company Lukoil, which hold small minority stakes in the projects.