SOCAR Trading Claims to Have Nothing to Do with Investigation in Malta

The head of the SOCAR liquefied gas department, an employee of SOCAR Trading, representing the interests of this trading house of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan in the Electro Gas Malta project, Turab Musaev, was drawn into a growing investigation in Malta around the murder in 2017 of the Maltese journalist Daphne Galicia, who collected materials regarding corruption government of this island nation.

A number of leading media in Malta wrote that T. Musaev became a defendant in this high-profile case, but sources in SOCAR told ASTNA / Turan that “Musaev has nothing to do with the Maltese scandal,” that is, in all probability, he can prove it, although one of the employees of Electro Gas Malta, who agreed to cooperate with the investigation, provided a number of documents and correspondence indicating that Musaev, in cooperation with Jorgen Fenech (this former head of Electro Gas Malta has been under investigation since November 30), has committed a number of unseemly cases under investigation by law enforcement agencies in Malta.

Thus, according to the Times of Malta journalist Ivan Martin, the mediator of the murder of the journalist, Mr. Teuma, said that shortly before the crime, Jorgen Fenech met and talked for a long time with “a certain Turab”. The Maltese reporter does not doubt that it was Turab Musaev and cited a piece of electronic correspondence on Twitter in which Musaev actually coordinates the actions of the Government of Malta to “solve problems” of the state-owned energy company Enemalta. Characteristically, the letter begins with the words “This morning I and Jorgen (Fenech) spoke with Conrad Mizzi …

Recently, the family of Daphne Galicia appealed to Europol with the request to provide the necessary support to the investigation, which is trying to trace the shadow money path between Malta, Azerbaijan and even the United Arab Emirates.

The essence of the deal between Azerbaijan and Malta

In 2013, the Government of Malta, through the Enemalta energy distribution company, announced a tender for the construction of a power plant on the island and its further provision of liquefied natural gas.

The tender was won by the consortium Electro Gas Malta, a third of which is owned by SOCAR.

In 2015, Electro Gas Malta signed a contract with SOCAR giving exclusive long-term rights to supply liquefied natural gas to Malta to supply the power plant.

Such deliveries began in 2017 with the launch of this new power plant and the structure around it.

According to Guardian, the corruption scheme was traced already since the beginning of the supplies. It became known that SOCAR bought the first volumes of liquefied gas from Shell (confirmed by SOCAR Trading) for $ 113 million, but Electro Gas Malta sold all this gas for $ 153 million, that is, $ 40 million went “side” and this went on for a long period.

The deceased journalist Daphne Galicia wrote in the fall of 2017 the following scheme: the accounts of offshore companies Egrant Inc. and Hearnville Inc, the final beneficiary of which was Conrad Mizzi (then Malta’s Minister of Energy), and Tillgate Inc., owned by Keith Chambry (working in the Malta Government Administration), regularly received large amounts of money from bank accounts related in one way or another to the Electro Gas Malta project .

The journalist also stated about the alleged connection of the family of the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat with receiving bribes from the energy project, which, in her opinion, does not meet the laws of Malta.

COMMENTARY OF SOURCES IN SOCAR

“This scandal has nothing to do with Azerbaijan. Such assumptions were made in some circles only due to the fact that SOCAR Trading on behalf of Azerbaijan participated in a strategically important energy project in Malta. The arrested Jorgen Fenek is not directly related to SOCAR, and SOCAR Trading has nothing to do with the investigation,” an informed source at the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan told ASTNA.

He recalled that the LNG-to-Power Complex at the Delimar Power Plant near Marsaxlokk in southeastern Malta is a major energy project in the country in recent years. It was 80% funded by international loans from Societe Generale, BNP, HSBC, and KFW.

“In 2013, 18 companies showed interest in the tender in Malta. According to its results, among the companies meeting all the conditions of the competition and offering the lowest price, Enemalta chose the consortium Electro Gas Malta, with which a contract was signed in September 2013. The agreement was also approved by the European Commission. Design began in 2015 after the completion of the tender. Construction began in the winter of 2016 with the cleaning of the old fuel oil power plant (Heavy Fuel Oil) and re-gasification of the territory, and was completed in 2017,” the source recalled.

According to him, among the conditions set by the Government of Malta to SOCAR Trading – LNG supplies should be carried out at a fixed price for five years.

To fulfill the terms of the contract, SOCAR Trading demanded a guarantee of logistics and LNG supply for a five-year period, as well as take risks in connection with possible fluctuations in LNG prices. The company did this. The total cost of the project is 510 million euros, of which 80% is provided by international banks, and the rest is by project shareholders.

“That is, the project was implemented without increasing Malta’s debt obligations. Also, thanks to the project, Enemalta reduced electricity prices for consumers by more than 25% and ensured stable energy prices for a period of 5 years. Some circles have questioned Malta’s benefits from the project. They argued that SOCAR Trading is not a producer, but a supplier of LNG, therefore they will import LNG to Malta more expensive than producers. However, the authorities of Malta chose a consortium with the participation of SOCAR Trading, Siemens and GEM Holdings because SOCAR Trading committed itself to providing long-term deliveries of LNG at a fixed cost. The goal of the Government of Malta was to provide gas to citizens stably. That is why, by announcing a tender, the Government of Malta set a condition for LNG supplies at a pre-set fixed price for a five-year period. And as a result, the SOCAR Trading and Electro Gas Malta consortium provided more advantageous offers. That is, SOCAR Trading won the tender precisely because of this commitment. It means accepting that prices in the LNG market may fluctuate. That is, here the company had to take into account its profit and loss. Of course, SOCAR Trading insured five-year deliveries to avoid losses. This means additional costs for the company. Apparently, other companies did not want to make a five-year commitment, therefore, the authorities gave preference to SOCAR Trading,” SOCAR explained.

State-owned companies still believe that the project in Malta allowed SOCAR to enter a new segment of the world market for LNG, opening a new page for the successful activities of SOCAR Trading.

“At present, SOCAR trades LNG on different continents, from the Far East to America, thereby bringing additional income to Azerbaijan. This is a contribution to the sustainable development of our country. Even if we assume that oil reserves in Azerbaijan will ever run out, SOCAR Trading will remain one of the significant sources of income to the country due to operations in international markets,” the state oil company said.